Every year, during that hazy week between Christmas and New Years Day, I take the time to scroll through my phone’s camera roll. I review all the pictures and screenshots to decide what to keep and what to discard. In amongst the captures of legislative agendas, the memes sent to friends, and the selfies with good dogs I’ve met the past 12 months, there are the keepers – the ones that will get selected and moved into the “Save Forever” folder, signifying moments I’ll want to revisit again and again during the good times and bad.
This year, I imagine that folder will be large, electronically stuffed to the max, with pics of beautiful landscapes, pristine Idaho waters, and dozens of shots of my little girl playing at our local park. There will be a few dozen close ups of neat lava formations and scrappy plants from a trip to Craters of the Moon, several of a solo camp trip wandering the mountains along the Snake River borderland, some Owyhee wildflower pics, and a few shots of the thick forest in the Selway Bitterroot… all good memories and all good reminders of how much the Idaho’s land and water mean to me, to all of us.
I revisit this folder for inspiration when necessary – when attacks on public lands ramp up at the legislature, when a rural county invites land seizure advocates to speak, or when debates about managing our natural landscapes get heated. One thing that unites us Idahoans across party lines and geography is our love of the land. Rural or urban, left or right, CVI works to build a movement for land and water conservation because that’s what the people – all the people – care about, for themselves and for the future.
There’s not always agreement on method or what that looks like, but we all feel that special connection to place. I keep that connection strong by visiting my photo folder (and creating new pics for next year’s), but more so through conversations about the land with Idahoans across the state. It’s those talks – with folks like you – that move this work forward. Your support makes it happen.
Reflection – and a good camera roll cleanout – is therapeutic for me. It sets me into the right mood for the upcoming legislative session and reminds me of what we’re doing here, the movement we’re building, and why our public lands are so important.
I hope you find the time for something similar, be it a day trip down memory lane, flipping through a journal, talking with an adventure partner over a beverage, or on the ski lift with a new friend.