We have reached that time of year, one that comes quicker with age, but remains the domain of youth. In the forest, the animals are restless, they too understand Christmas, but more as the solstice and the beginning of more light. On the river, beavers are busy making sure their homes are secure. The pine martin, searches for food, it’s easier this year for the snow has been weak. It is winter in the northern Rockies and life is the tapestry of our land.
The wolves are on the move, keeping the deer and elk in motion. Along some stretches of river otters are rolling, playing and enjoying the quiet forest and the lack of ice. The bald eagles hug the river searching for trout and remain the sentries of the wild spirit of our beautiful lands.
Yet, we are also entering trapping season, a time of suffering and removal of the wild spirit our land needs to thrive. It is stealing from us the chance to share the land with species that leave us in awe, whose presence is part of the value of our life.
My wish this year is to walk the riverside and see beaver and otter, to sit under eagles in flight, to listen to the call of wolves and coyotes, which are running wild and free. To feel in the proscenium that is nature is alive and we are blessed by their presence.
But there will be those that will spend Christmas working to create the occlusion of life. Their right denies our wonder, steals from us joy, and leaves us searching for wonder. These are the trappers.
The bison are moving their heads back and forth, digging in the snow, their face is that of magnificence, of suffering, their movement slow and determined. The grizzly is sleeping, resting from a long summer. In Glacier, a wolverine searches for its next meal crossing through the biting winds of a high peak. That is what sets our state apart; while human diversity is scarce, our diversity comes in the form of wildlife. These animals are our greatest gift; they remind us that humans have yet to destroy- our wildest heart.
It’s Christmas in Montana, a land of soul, a place in need of rebuilding our sense of wildness. We must end the suffering of species; we must do it not just for them, but for us.
Merry Christmas to all of you!
Let’s work together in the New Year to end trapping once and for all. Then we can reclaim the public lands that belong to our 99% majority. We can and we must, for species great and small need our help. We must and we will, stand up and be their voice.
Please give what you can to our end of year appeal. Footloosemontana.org