Paddles and Pens: Postcards from the Field

Students sit in the shade of a cliff while journaling outdoors.

July 11, 2018

One of the two classes students took while on the Gonzaga in the Wilderness trip was John Eliason’s Nature Writing (ENG 306). Students kept journals, shared their work at evening circles, and explored their wild experiences through written language. Below are snippets from student work, curated throughout the trip, providing insight into the incredible journey along the Missouri River.

“Sandstone castles raising their towers in salutation
Towards the ever-changing landscape of imagination
Praising Earth for this slice of peace
 And in hopes we might understand this wonder of the world.”
Shelby Walker (’20)

Stuart Stonacek ('21) stands in front of a rock formation called Archangel. Photo by Madeline Hueske ('19)
“Fitting that I should choose to isolate myself in
The Badlands
Some personal penance for an unknown sin
Instead these Badlands
Have only shown me the good in land
In vast space, a place removed from time
Space enough 
To accommodate for all the thoughts, questions,
Hopes, dreams.

In the end I think that I 
Will get up from this cliff
Make my way home
But store this place deep in my soul
That I might once again wander these hills
In search of answers within my own heart
A faithful child
Seeking You always.”
Matea Marinkovic (’21)
Sunset from Dark Butte. Photo by Matea Marinkovic ('21)

“We travel.  Into the wilderness we travel to find silence.  To find peace.  Peace and quiet. But we will never find it.  Peace?  Almost certainly.  Quiet?  Not for a second.  We have become so entrapped by our design we have forgotten nature’s melody; the choir of songbirds, the strings of the crickets, the drum of the thunder, the steady woodwinds of the breeze.”
Keara Kintzele (’21)

Shelby Walker ('20) sits in silence by the river. Photo by Claire Mater ('21)

“But one Oreo is enough here, in nature, 
Where I have the least.
I take one. I eat it. It’s gone.
David Baker (’18)

The group of students and staff share work at Gist Bottom camp. Photo by Matt Edenfield

“The Native Americans here came long before us and have shown us something sacred to them, which as they said, now makes it sacred to us. I can now understand the connection that people have to places. The feeling of the wind rushing through my hair and my shoelaces flapping back and forth make me feel alive and welcome in this foreign place that now seems so familiar.”
Claire Mater (’21)

Eiryn Renouard ('19) sits atop Snake Butte on the Fort Belknap Reservation. Photo by Dr. John Eliason

Explore more from Gonzaga in the Wilderness here.