The Word on the Week

Going Wild

One habit that old age has stolen is the climbing of Djouce on 1st Jan. As an antidote to this loss let me take you, in your imagination, to the ‘Rewilding of the Mayo Nephin Range’. It adjoins the Ballycroy National Park. The combined area runs to some 11,000 hectares, rising to 2,646 feet at its highest point.
Since 2013 it has been designated as Wild Nephin. This corresponds to the “rewilding” movement in the rest of the EC where areas of natural beauty have been designated as National Parks. It is reasoned that stressed-out, tired, over-civilised people can be helped by going to the mountains and finding peace in the wilderness experience.
The area is being developed jointly by Coillte (forestry) and Ballycroy. The latter has the “Wild Atlantic Way”, a popular tourist trail, passing through it. At present some thinning of existing forests and planting of lodgepole pines, which regenerate well, has taken place. Drains have been blocked and roadways narrowed to make them into trails. The only historic trail through the area was one made by farmers driving their cattle from Bangor (Mayo) to be shipped at Newport.
There will be a number of basic mountain huts built in strategic places. Apart from shelter these should attract campers to pitch in the surrounding areas. It is hoped that native broadleaf trees, birch, rowan and alder will regenerate from the 25,000 planted recently.
As trees fall they will be allowed to decompose providing habitats for moths, butterflies, brown beetles, bats and hoverflies. These in turn should attract back the corncrake, nightingale, cuckoo and skylark. Perhaps species such as black grouse could be introduced and the neighbouring golden eagles from Donegal may be visitors!
Some legal security may be required to keep out wind turbines, electricity pylons and phone masts so as to maintain the wilderness in a pristine state.

“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” was Jesus advise to his disciples. Many were coming and going and they did not even have a chance to eat (St Mark Chapter 6 verse 31).
Busy lives afflict many because like land they end up in a mono culture only growing one thing. We have seen the need for biodiversity in nature and even more so in humans. This need to ‘come apart’ before health crumbles and we literally begin to come apart!
What Nephin offers is a glimpse into creation in all its diversity. What Jesus offers in coming to him is the rest of redemption, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (St Matthew Chapter 11 verses 28 to 30).
Yoking with Jesus is not heavy because he has already bourn the weight of your sin.
Trust him in the wilderness of life. His enabling grace is sufficient for you.