September 2, 2012 A World Away:Michigan’s U.P. and Bosnia’s Fires
I remember sitting on a log in front of one of the camp sites as a child, waiting to begin our climb to one of the magnificent peaks of Bjelasnica, one of the many beloved mountains overlooking Sarajevo. Stretching from Sarajevo to Konjic, this 43 km long mountain, is a part of Dinaric Alps, the fifth most rugged areas of Europe, stretching over 645km across central and Southern Europe. To many outsiders, this is an exotic and challenging Mountain, with its highest peak rising at 6781 ft. To me, this is a home.
I grew up in a family of avid hikers, and many of my weekends were occupied by hiking and skiing. It was during these trips that I learned to appreciate and respect nature and experience myself as a part of a larger energy with a purpose of my own. My parents and my grandfather taught me to view the trees as a part of my heart and the peaks and valleys of the Mountains as a landscape of my soul. In the folds of the forests I learned the lessons of endurance, strength and, above all else, humility.
My love affair with nature began early and slowly,and as years passed the affair turned into a long-term committed relationship; a kind locked in a bond of need and spiritual awakening that nourishes and heals.
Slowly bringing myself around to the present, descending from the Mountain peaks of beautiful Bjelasnica, in a country so far away, I opened my eyes centering my anchor to the vast expanse of Lake Superior and the heavy Sun that rose slightly above the branches of elderly pine trees.
“May the energy of this moment expand and protect you,” I whispered to Mountains of Bosnia who are at this exact moment engulfed in an uncontrollable fire. Brought on by the unprecedented heat wave that has engulfed the Balkans for months, small forest fires have ignited and activated many of the millions of land mines laid out during the Bosnian War. In turn, the explosions help fuel the fire.This small country with an economy and infrastructure in shambles is unable to fight this annihilation alone,and the help is slow in coming. While the world is not watching, Bosnia’s pristine nature is disappearing in a whirlwind of fire and neglect. For those of us who possess a deep understanding of the intimate and life affirming relationship between humans and Nature, this is a tragedy and a loss of one’s soul.