WildlandsThe purpose of wild lands, I suspect, is to reveal God’s glory. I feel more at home in some wilderness a hundred miles or so from the nearest McDonald’s or Starbucks than in a crowd. I was that way as a kid growing up in the Cooksons and Ozarks where I would take off alone into the hills when I was as young as ten or twelve and be gone for several days at a time. Bears and caribou and elephants and seals and lions seem more direct, forward, and honorable than human societies. Especially in these strange times.

My dad switched me with the proverbial peach tree limb the first time after I took off. Soon, however, he just shrugged and gave up, so I grew up relatively free to roam the wilds.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the geography I love most are Africa, the Arctic, Alaska, Brazil on the Amazon, the Rockies… At various times I’ve solo-kayaked Canada’s Inside Passage to Alaska, canoed alone across Yukon Territory, boated the Amazon, visited wild elephants and lions in Tanzania, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, rode horses across Alaska… My most delightful pets have included squirrels, skunks, wild cats, coyotes, hawks, crows…

A man never feels so free as out in the wilderness with nature. In Alaska, I trailed a grizzly and her twin cubs for an entire day, just watching; I actually made friends with a wild boar and his sows and piglets on our ranch in Oklahoma; I’ve approached and been accepted by wild elephants, photographed bears from close up and tossed rocks at them when they kept interrupting my sleep; took a nap on the Alaskan tundra and woke up to find myself surrounded by curious caribou… Pet hawks and crows and dove have ridden my shoulders, baby skunks followed me, raccoons came and went, dove waited outside the door for me, squirrels searched my pockets for treats…

God made the universe. Surely when I die he won’t confine me to cities and golden streets. Perhaps He’ll allow me to roam wild and free throughout the universe.

Charles W. Sasser is author of over 60 books. Check out his publications on Google or Bing. His latest book is Crushing the Collective: America’s Last Chance to Remain Free and Self-Governing.