Finding inner peace can be a challenge for many people and is often something that is easier said than done. Many of our people live in a society that is so fast-paced it forces them to live life at about a hundred miles an hour. Many of our people live in urban locations and have very little time to stop to smell the roses. There are, however, those who take the time to get back to the grassroots of things.

I like to take journeys into the bush just for the purpose of being there. Not to hunt, trap or anything of that nature. Just to enjoy the smells, sounds and the pleasant surprises that I may come across. Now that I have a family, I like to share some of these journeys with them. It is something that falls into the category of “family needs.”

We like to pack a lunch and our teapot made out of an old coffee can, and head out to places we haven’t been to before. We also bring along the camera for those rare instances where nature provides us with the unusual photo opportunity. When my partner reads this, she’ll come back at me with, “This is why I have lots of pictures of you.” I guess I do get a little on the wild side when I’m in my element and I have the scars to prove it.

My perspective of the bush is very simple. It was my very first school that I went to and I probably will never graduate from it. There is always something new to learn from nature and it always changes. I’ve spent years traveling down the same trails and have no two experiences the same. Nature changes her looks every season, and from my perspective, she looks better every year.

Maybe I’m getting old, but I’ve slowed down to take notice of the smaller plants and animals that exist out in the forest. I have also found some inner peace by being a part of the big picture that only nature can provide. It is a great educational experience to sit off the beaten path and watch nature at work.

One of our Elders once said, “Everything that makes up a Native person is in the forest, if only the person allows him or her self to be a part of the forest.” Beautiful words coming from the personal experience of an Elder who has lived them. These are the role models I try to follow even though some of them have some pretty big moccasins to fill. Until next time, enjoy the forest as it is and the peace of mind it can bring you. Let it sink into your soul – you will be happy you did.