Wilderness offers peace, solitude

Chattanooga Times Free Press
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Holli Richey

Between rushing to the next somewhere-you've-got-to-be, wilderness offers a sojourn into the middle of nowhere. Miles deep into Little Frog Wilderness Area, when sounds of Highway 64 are no longer audible, and the only sounds are wind, water, birds and our breathing, my companion hiker exclaims in awe, "We're in the middle of nowhere." That's what wilderness is, a place where one can be in the middle of wild, natural peace-nowhere. We see signs of bear; we smell the white pine; and the only sign of humans is the trail we follow. Wilderness is as important for what is present, as it is for what is missing.

Sen. Alexander's Tennessee Wilderness Act expands five wilderness areas and creates the first new Tennessee wilderness area in over 26 years. Congressman Fleischmann should commit to co-sponsoring a companion bill in the House as 12,200 acres are in his district.

With life's speed increasing, we only have a hint of what protecting wild, natural peace will mean to future people. Personally, while walking in Little Frog Wilderness, I found myself repeatedly saying with one step, "Wow," and with the other, "Thank you."