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  • A Field Notes Essay by Jillian Lukiwski
  • Western Rise
  • AmbassadorsMountain Life

A Field Notes Essay by Jillian Lukiwski

thenoisyplume Western Rise Jillian

The truth is, I am concerned for humanity. I am concerned by the way we insulate our bodies, minds and souls from any degree of discomfort, shield ourselves from suffering, grow mono-dimensional in our middle age until death bumps us off into the great beyond and our bodies go to stardust. I am concerned.

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise 

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

I don’t want this for myself. I want to feel it all. I want to feel my anger, my hurt, my joy, my pain; feel those things break me and build me, learn from my life and move deeper into it. I want to have all the beautiful stuff, but I also want to know what it’s like to have a face that is frozen with cold, an empty and aching belly, a heart filled with despair, shattered faith—I want to know what it is to suffer.  My suffering brings my blessings to light.

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

I want to shiver through the night, cut my hands to ribbons while gathering firewood, cautiously ration my food, know thirst, keep walking under a heavy pack on horrible terrain even if my ankle is sprained or my bones are broken. I want to run out of food and know hunger. I want to fight a little for my food, remember eating is a privilege, reminisce about what it’s like to have the luxury of an overflowing fridge and the convenience of grocery stores on every street corner.

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

I want to warm my cold hands on the hot and twitching backstrap of a deer. I want to feel the pain of my fingers thawing.

I want to know the weight and responsibility attached to taking a life so that I may live. I want to know the darkness and light of that act. I want to revel in the beauty of the deed well done and I want to feel sad about it, too. I want to feel the bullet in my very own soul. I want to understand what I have done to get my food so that I value and cherish and remember every bite of it.

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

I want all of this for myself, unabashedly I want to survive, and not recreationally.  It is not enough to get cold while I am out skiing or catch and release fishing from my boat on a beautiful river. That’s trading some pain for play and I want my suffering to mean more than that.  

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

I want to doubt. I want to fall. I want to fail. I want to wind up empty handed despite my best, truest efforts. I want to work hard, redeem myself and be redeemed. I want to crawl, walk, run towards my higher calling. I want to know myself better. I want to trust the wild and the wildness I was born into as a citizen of Earth.  

Jillian Lukiwski Western Rise

And so, I hunt.

 

Essay by our talented ambassador Jillian Lukiwski, @thenoisyplume.

  • Western Rise
  • AmbassadorsMountain Life

Comments on this post ( 3 )

  • Oct 30, 2016

    Having just discovered Jillian, I now look forward to more of her essays and exquisite photos and the inspiration and peace they bring, like prayers.

    — Evelyn

  • Mar 29, 2016

    Just beautiful. Jillian never fails to stir my soul with her writing.

    — Elias

  • Mar 16, 2016

    This is not my first read of this post. I come to it often in the mornings for understanding, for a reminder- for humility, vulnerability, and what my soul knows to be truth. This is and has been one of the most powerful writings I’ve encountered in my own personal search for things that penetrate the soul. I’ve followed Jillian for years now (digitally). Unbeknownst to her, she is a gift to so many of my mornings and moments. Thank you Jillian wherever you might be.
    BCG

    — Brian Grobleski

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