There was something really beautiful about going to the Cedar Mountain Herd roundup.
Despite knowing what the day had in store and the tragedy I was about to witness on the second day, driving through the herd lands at sunrise to get to the viewing area, I felt undeniable peace. There was so much beauty in the wild Utah landscape, and as we drove father and father away from the main road towards the remote trap site, I felt a deep connection to the natural world around me. When we finally parked and started to hike up to the viewing area, I was fully enraptured by the morning’s beauty and natural world around me.
The sun was rising over the mountain ridge, streaking rays of light through the strip of fog below. Snow seemed to float off the mountaintops as clouds and snowy mountain peaks blended as one. Turn around, and an almost full moon shown bright in the morning sky. Crisp air cooled and cleaned my lungs, and I felt alive.
During our downtime at the viewing point between roundups, I couldn’t help but feel that particular bliss that comes from spending time outside. Nature has a particular way of calming and centering us in a way I feel most of have forgotten. With nothing else to do but wait and “be” outside on these wild lands, I couldn’t help but feel happy and content for no particular reason.
I am a very outdoorsy person. I am lucky enough to spend most of my waking hours outside for my work. However, this outdoor experience felt different, and it was so incredibly special. There was something about these truly wild lands that captivated me in a way I hadn’t experienced in a long time. These lands… these wild and sacred grounds… they reconnected me with something deeper in myself, something I hadn’t even realized was missing.
Sitting outside without the distractions of the Internet or cell service, I naturally tapped in to a simpler, deeper facet of myself. At times, I even seemed to forget where I was or why I was there and found myself in the present moment of it all. It sounds a little cliché, but it was actually quite profound to find myself in such a simple, deeply connected state. Somehow, being out in this natural world was enough – and I was enough. At times, the experience felt nothing short of blissful.
And so, I felt jerked rapidly and forcefully out of these beautiful moments every time another band of horses was being chased, tapped, and abducted off this sacred land of theirs. Every time I witnessed another truckload of horses hauled off the beautiful open range to a world of metal panels and cramped holding pens, it felt like a disturbing and personal violation I wasn’t fully expecting.
The peace I had felt faded into the distance like the truck and trailer disappearing into the horizon.
These beings that know the sacredness of this land more than anyone – who are as much a part of this natural world as the mountains and the sky – are disappearing at alarming rates. We are destroying the horses and the land, and soon, both may fade into simple memories of this earth.
Along with the horses, we are losing the wild places on this earth. We are replacing wildlife with cattle farming and striping the earth of her natural resources.
I don’t think we really understand how vital these lands are to our own piece of mind. I had forgotten, or perhaps never even realized, just how badly I craved time in this natural world – how healing and wonderful it is to reconnect with our nature in this way. It was cleansing and eye opening. I am craving to go back. I found pieces of myself out there I had lost touch with in our modern culture.
If we continue down this path, we will lose invaluable aspects of our lives that we will not be able to restore. Before that happens, we must ask ourselves:
Is this really the world we want to live in?
Do we really want to lose all that is wild and beautiful in the name of profit?
Can money really replace the magnificence and connection we will lose forever, both in our world and in ourselves?
We are as much a part of this natural world as the clouds above and the grass below – We are as wild the horses we admire and the mountains we climb. We are not outside of nature – we are nature. Just like all life on this planet earth, we are a part of her balance, whether we have forgotten that fact or not.
When we hurt fellow animals, we hurt ourselves. When we destroy the earth, our home, we destroy ourselves.
When we lose the wild outside, we lose the wild within… and that is a truly tragic notion.