Friday, September 3, 2010


In geologic terms, rejuvenation is a kind of rapid erosion that takes landforms backwards in time, from older forms to younger, more rugged features.

I imagine this like when the 1,000 year flood came through along the Imnaha River and stripped away the soil and trees, carving new channels, leaving high raw cuts and sprawling gravel bars. A few years later, I stood at the edge of the river and looked across the rapids to the far cutbank and the water line ten feet above my head. I briefly pictured myself submerged inside the roil, and shuddered.

The Missoula Floods cycled through about every 55 years when Hells Canyon was being formed. When I think that what we witnessed was a once in a 1,000 years event, the frequency of those Ice Age floods is staggering. I wonder if I have ever seen water travelling at the rate of 80 mph. How fast was the Imnaha when it was running 20,000 cubic feet of water per second? Even during a normal flood, at 2,000 cfs, the river is frightening.

In contrast to the geologic process, the rejuvenation of body or self is mostly associated with indulgence and relaxation. Perhaps I should reconsider life's threatening situations as another form of rejuvenation, the physical breaking down into new life, the turmoil that erodes feelings down to emotional bedrock, where one can begin building up again.

In 1862, Thoreau wrote, "In wildness is the preservation of the world." Back when we first met, Mike had a favorite poster with that quote on it. I think it helped me trust him. The quote was like a founding principle that we could always agree on, one that has grounded us wherever we've lived, from the Yukon Territory, to the Andes Mountains, to the depths of Hells Canyon.

Wildness has been both balm and catalyst. Ignition and antidote. It has been one of the best teachers, for two people in it for the long haul.

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef