River of Refuge: The Important Places

“I need this wild life, this freedom.” -Z.G.

It’s only day one of my four days off from guiding and I am at a loss for what to do. I know my callused and overworked body wants to relax and catch up on Netflix, but something is pulling at my heart; I can’t just sit here. Today I drove 45 minutes back to the Rogue. I’ve spent the last 3 summers rafting down the same stretch of river that I do every season, but until recently I am not sure I fully appreciated just how much this place nourishes my soul. The river is wild and powerful and raw; and I’m captivated. As I’ve matured over the years into an independent thinker, I’ve began acknowledging the importance of only expelling energy towards things that bring me joy and strength and life. The river provides me with all of these things and I’m constantly reminded just how much I need her- how much we all need that special place that allows us to rediscover ourselves time after time.

A few weeks ago I came across a film that showcased this exact topic. The documentary touches on something that we all need to be reminded of and you will surely be moved by its message!

The Important Places By Forest Woodward and Brenden Leonard (Uploaded by American Whitewater)

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the less important things like work and status and money and politics. But those aren’t things that give us life. They don’t inspire us and they definitely don’t reflect who we are. What if we spent a little more energy cherishing the important places and the important things? We could create something much more powerful than social standards and expectations. Think about how connected we could be, both with the wilderness and with each other. The symbiotic relationship we innately have with nature could literally transform our world. We’ve just got to give it a chance.

There are moments during the summer where I want to cry, where I want to quit and get a “normal” job. Sometimes I can’t handle putting on a smile 24/7 and sometimes I just want to have clean clothes. But then I lay down on my boat in my sleeping bag and look up at the expansive starry sky and am humbly reminded of the greatness that surrounds me. I listen the current gently splash against the side of my raft as I am rocked to sleep and I know that I am in the right place. It’s my place. I’ve found my place.

Where’s your important place?

rogue river


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