Wilderness…?

For this visual representation I decided to make a painting using watercolor paint. I used fresh snow to create this type of paint. I wanted to use fresh snow because this visual representation is about sharing a story about experiencing wilderness and, since I live in Saskatchewan, I have a lot of stories that have to do with snow. My painting, however is about an experience that doesn’t have to do with snow. My painting is based on a picture I have of myself from the first time I went camping about two years ago. We were in a beautiful spot in a beautiful campground. We decided to tent and had to cook all of out meals over a fire; I had never been camping before so being so close with nature and unconnected from the rest of the world was really eye opening to me. There ware many hiking trails around the area with beautiful sceneries of the untouched forests surrounding them. That camping trip was probably the first time I feel like I’ve ever truly experienced wilderness. I have been on a few outdoor education field trips when I was in school, but I never experienced the wilderness or nature like I did the first time I went camping.

Reading the article by Newbery, I was able to think deeper into my experience of the wilderness. On page 36 in Newbery’s article, certain provincial parks are addressed. Newbery expands on the notion of wilderness in these parks. The line “a playground for elite tourists seeking comfort and adventure,” really stood out to me when reading this article. It made me question if whether or not I was one of these elite tourists camping. According to Newbery and connecting to the blanket exercise we performed in class, I was. The article expands on how this land was taken from the Indigenous peoples and turned into these parks made for tourists. It was interesting to think of the parks this way. The picture from my camping trip that inspired my painting was at a provincial park and after reading Newbery’s article I realize that although I was able to experience wilderness through caming, maybe I need to question the previous events of the land that I’m on. Just because I was able to experience wilderness in that particular place, maybe other people’s concept of wilderness was taken away from them to create the space I was i

“You can’t buy love,” was a quote that kind of struck me while reading Kimmer’s “Epiphany in the Beans.” Kimmer speaks a lot about reciprocity in this reading. On page 214, she recounts a story from a graduate class which imposed the question: do you love the Earth? And do you think the Earth loves you back? Thinking about this deep question, I don’t know if I can say the Earth loves me back. Maybe it could a little more now because of our group ecoliteracy project and my attempts of reducing my plastic consumption and influencing others to do the same. I have always been the one to scold friends if they littered then go pick up their trash, but I don’t know if that would be enough to say that the Earth loves me back. Thinking back to my painting of wilderness, I just selfishly took in that moment but what was I doing for the Earth? How was I representing reciprocity? Would I have still felt the peaceful I endured if I was aware of the history of the land? These questions that I find myself asking are bringing up a lot of emotions. Guilt, sadness, shame, for example. The week’s topics in class have definitely given me a new perspective the current perspectives of the values the Earth.

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