Through close observation of the elements of the wilderness by a direct, get-your-hands-dirty, experience led by me, students will learn to appreciate what is here and spread the word, not to mention build a foundation for art application and appreciation.
Right now, with the constant push of environmental extremism, traveling and enjoying the wilderness is becoming more difficult and is resulting in turning people away who don’t understand all the incessant rules and boundaries put in place by environmental ideologues and government. And then, there is also the pampered nature of today’s people. Everybody is afraid of everything.
Instead of feeling the wind in their faces and witnessing the brilliance of the sun on their backs while sitting on a rock in silence, I find that people are turning to their artificial world of electronics and man-made experiences which involve the presence of lots of other people (cruise ships and Disneyland are two examples) instead of enjoying the peace, solitude and abject beauty of Minnesota’s northwoods.
As our wilderness exposure declines, silly uninformed notions like nonsensical rumors of bear/wolf/animal attacks rises. (Watch out for Yeti’s- they steal children) Stories of physical exertion on portages bloom into nightmarish tales of woe. And even seeing a mosquito fly past is cause for major alarm. (you might get a disease and never live to see another cruise) The thoughts of attacking animals, horrifying bugs, and grueling efforts over rough, rugged terrain, despite being complete and utter ignorant, exaggerated, baloney, moves more ignorant people away from wilderness. In the last 5 years, we have witnessed a major falling off of customers. You can’t believe how many are SHOCKED that their iphones have no reception here at the lodge. SHOCKED – I tell you! Like they are gonna die a horrible death within seconds because they can’t check the weather or make a call. They don’t want to drive out on our brand new road anymore because they have no or spotty phone reception. That’s INSANE! Ignorance contributes to the vicious, and growing cycle of avoidance and these people turn out in droves to do things that are not rustic in nature but “safe” because they have cellphone signals. They attend car shows, flea markets, flower shows, and the like. (Oh, wow….like that is SO exciting. I apologize for making fun, but the complete wussiness of it all makes me snort with derision. What has happened to everybody in just 5 short years?) This trend of digital defense and reliance simply MUST be changed! You won’t become a Jeremiah Johnson by taking an Into The Brush course at Northwind Lodge, but hopefully you will develop a bit more self confidence and reliance of living without a constant digital safety net. A little common sense applied, pay attention to the weather and have a GREAT time!
As a result of false fantasies of doom, our future wilderness visitors simply no longer go especially today with this whole, ridiculous “safe space” mentality. And, as people forget all about wilderness, it will fade in the minds of future voting populations thereby turning it into merely “another usable resource” to be processed for its elements such as its vast clean water and minerals right at the surface as opposed to its beautiful aesthetics. That would be a terrible shame especially since I grew up right here and consider the Boundary Waters Canoe Area my backyard. Having guided day fishing trips for almost 25 years all over the place, the very thought of the future destruction of the Boundary Waters region by today’s disinterested kids and government restriction, kind of makes me ill. I blame people’s wussiness, unbending addiction to electronics, and environmental zealotry for the drop off in visitors to this great northern wilderness. There’s more to life than looking at one’s cellphone and worrying about safe spaces, micro-aggressions and white privilege. That’s all these kids talk about today while forgetting wilderness other than protesting everything outside of the wilderness boundaries to protect the wilderness. By effect, they are doing the exact opposite and bringing about its demise in the more distant future.
I intend to change these ridiculous attitudes and save wilderness via observation and painting. Get in a canoe and go for a paddle. Hop in a boat and go for a ride. Take a walk in the brush and realize that you won’t die a horrible death by animals eating you. Then come home and paint about it. Stop whining about ridiculous, man-made-up problems and learn to do something spectacular. Then show the world what they are missing as they stare down at their iPhones while walking off of cliffs.
So, in my effort to “save the wilderness through all people being welcomed to it for a new-found purpose of learning to paint”, I formed “Into The Brush”. Sure, there are other ways to bring about wilderness awareness, but painting is in my wheelhouse and it actually has long lasting value as opposed to just coming up to take a canoe trip. Tying the two together will have untold, long-lasting wonders for the one doing it.
Real wilderness brings something for everybody, including woodsmen, artists and city folk. If we are going to “save wilderness” it will not be by having select groups controlling stringent, unbending guidelines and rules. When the zealots have died off, there will be no one following their footsteps from the upcoming young crowd. It will be up to an older, more dedicated group to re-sow the seeds for wilderness through observation and paint. Wilderness travel and living is not a risk-free event like today’s college students now have to have for everything they do. In wilderness, you can still drown if you don’t know what you are doing on water and don’t take simple precautions that you will learn in this experience.
Ultimately, saving wilderness will only occur by giving the common man a reason to enjoy and appreciate all the blessings of wilderness through real activity and participation. Into The Brush is not an organization for zealots and pretenders. It is here for ordinary people seeking to truly appreciate everything that wilderness brings to everybody. It’s time we get “into the brush” in more ways than one.
This is my approach. I hope you will join me.