Friday 21st April is John Muir Day.
I'm writing to you from Scotland, where John was born and lived until he was eleven when he emigrated to the USA. If you're reading this in America many of you already know, and celebrate the "father of National Parks" and founder of the modern conservation movement.
Here in Scotland and indeed, the wider United Kingdom, John Muir - once little known is becoming more honoured each year. One of the main reasons for this is through the work of the John Muir Trust - a charity that works to defend wild land, enhance habitats and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with wild places. In Scotland the Trust owns and manages some of our wildest places and, over 300,000 people have completed the John Muir Award.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir
• February 2016 - My family is on holiday near Pitlochry, Scotland and visit Wild Space - a visitor centre and exhibition space that shares the work of the John Muir Trust (JMT)
• November 2016 - We become members of JMT - I'm looking for an antidote to the Xbox we're getting our children for Christmas.
• December 2016 - I'm in work (I'm an executive recruiter, my son likes it when I say "head-hunter") my Director calls out "Would anyone like to recruit a Chief Executive for the John Muir Trust?....”
The last few months have seen me get to know the Trust, the trustees and the people who work there pretty well; I'm so proud to be a member of this organisation that punches above its weight to protect, enhance and connect people to the wild.
In 1901 John Muir wrote - "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."
Add another 116 years of "over-civilisation" and it feels like we are more tired and nerve-shaken than ever.
We're very fortunate to live in a village where we can take a short-walk to the woods and have a shorter dash for the train to commute into Glasgow to work. Last night we went for a walk after our tea (what we call dinner/supper here) and visited the Wee Glen, we played pooh sticks and gave big hugs to a mossy tree growing out over a small burn. It felt good!
I hope you get a chance to connect to the wild this week, if you do and you’re so inclined – #JohnMuirDay
I've been on the Listserve for c.4 years (thanks Sam). The first email I received made me laugh out loud (a story about a deer sitting up like a human). I read them all, some I skim and I’ll reply to those that move me. Thanks to everyone for being part of this; I enjoy hearing your news, following up on your recommendations and having a wee keek into your lives.