Monday, August 13, 2012

The Marrow of the World

Photo by Chris Harvey

…"the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world," and by God, I was right. Keep your nose in the wind and your eye along the skyline.”
--Del Gue, Jeremiah Johnson (the film) 

Marrow.  Deep in your bones, that place in your body that keeps you immune to the things that will harm you.  The marrow of the world.  That place in the world that keeps you immune to the things that will harm you.  It’s home, a place of protection and peace.  Mine is a 74,401-acre expanse of granite, tundra, golden aspens, subalpine fir, bristlecone pine, pocket water, high lakes, brutal storms, sunshine, brookies, cutthroats, grouse, snowshoes hares, and microscopic wildflowers.  Bighorn sheep and mountain goats bounce on the talus above timberline, and elk, moose, and mule deer range between the krummholz and the bottom of the creek canyons.  Black bears, coyotes, and mountain lions work the shadows and the night.  I’ve been coming here since before it was even federally designated as wilderness, in the summer of 1978 when my parents dropped me off, alone, on one end and two days later I showed up back at home.  It was handy, because the southern boundary was only two miles from our home. That first solo trip across this place set the stage for over three decades of hunting, angling, and rambling in my own little piece of the Colorado Rockies, and what I’ve come to claim as my own “marrow of the world”.
We each have our own marrow. This just happens to be mine.  Each of us have those special places where we recharge our batteries, challenge heart, lung, and muscle, and breathe deep.  It may be a desert canyon, a snowfield of unbroken powder, or the quiet corner of a city park.  Wherever your marrow may be, please seek it out often, get your head and heart back on track, and fill your soul with peace and strength.  Those are all things my own marrow has given me since before I could shave.  It’s a magnet, a force that pulls me back home often.

Here’s hoping you find your marrow and visit it as frequently as you can.  It can be a place of peace and introspection.  It can be home.  Go there, fill up, and come back each time a different and stronger person.


  1. Do you think we're born with a "wilderness gene?"

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  3. Yes, I do, or something like that. We are undeniably linked to our paleolithic forebears through our genome. There's your "wilderness gene"!