I could easily describe the Badlands as one of the most wild and breathtaking places I've ever been. I've road-tripped cross-country since I was a just a little neophyte, and I've been more places than I can recall, but this slice of South Dakota truly blew me away in ways that nothing else ever has.

Simply put: its one of those places where you would never want to break down.

The Badlands are a magnificent, breath-stealing wasteland-- you can stand there and look around you, and from all sides you will see vast amounts of absolutely nothing. For miles and miles and miles.

There's little growth, life is scarce, the ground is clay-like and eroded, and you'll seldom hear much more than the wind tearing around through the canyons and hills like a restless wanderer. 

Barren places.

And somehow we connect with it because we've all been there. We all have our own Badlands. 

In our wanderings and pursuits we sometimes feel a very real sense of hollow. Like you're yelling down into yourself "is anyone down there?" and it's echoing back up to you. That cold biting wind, cars rarely passing.

This is something I've been writing about lately, because I think we all feel it. And its okay, because wilderness-- though it may seem to stretch on into infinity --is never the end. Ever.

Wilderness points to a promised land. 

Wilderness brings us to this realization, like the prodigal son, that "there's got to be more than this." 

And there is. And so wilderness, wastelands, badlands, become places of exploration and discovery. Like bleak mines surrendering their hidden gems.

From the beginning of the universe, God has dipped his brush into the murk of chaos and disorder, to splash light and beauty across a canvas that stitches us together as one. He paints us. And he says "beautiful."

Wilderness is a place of emergence, and taking one another by the hands-- realizing that we are in this together, and everything is going to be okay. There is so much we've yet to even discover. 

Within that dark, dizzy, staggering sense of I just can't go on, when you feel like you can't take one more step, within that moment a promised land is rising; taking its first breath.

We're going to make it. Everything is going to be okay.


  1. This came right in the middle of me contemplating the smallness of my own life amid thousands of others, and I know it's not strictly related, but this helped. In the bigness of the wild and empty badlands, there is still a promised land waiting around the corner, and in a world that is so big... and I feel so small; I suddenly realize that even the most glorious tapestry would be nothing without each individual thread. I don't even know if this makes sense, but when you pointed to a way out of the badlands, what my soul heard was that even my tiny life is so important in the big picture. And that's what I needed to hear tonight. ♥

    I had scrawled down some thoughts earlier about time going too fast, and me feeling out of breath with the hurry of it all, this last year of high school... I was feeling small. This post made me run back to my journal and finish the story...this time with the happy ending I'd forgotten. Thank you for reminding me that God doesn't create anything insignificant. :)

    1. Olivia, your comment seriously made my day! It touched me so much. I smiled so huge. I'm so glad that this could help you in some way. What you said, like the comparison about the threads and the tapestry is so true and profound. I love that. And I'm glad you remembered that happy ending-- you rock. Love you, girl

  2. This is beautiful.
    I...I cannot say anything else just THIS IS BEAUTIFUL.
    And I feel like such a deluded pineapple for not knowing you changed your blog name. *shameface* BUT I LOVE THE NAME AND THE LOOK AND EVERYTHING.
    *slowly disappears*

    1. CAAAAIITT *hugs* thanks soo much, girl!

  3. The Badlands! I'd love to go and visit someday. Isn't it wonderful about Nature how it often connects us and ties in with some parts of our lives? Well, in the end, everything will be okay.

    xoxo Morning

    1. It is amazing how nature does show us so much about our lives. God is a great teacher through nature

  4. "Wilderness points to a promised land." i like that, that's beautiful. as are the pictures, really really beautiful,

    1. Thank you, D. Your words mean so much

  5. This is so gorgeous, in words and in photos!

  6. This place really does look wild and I love the way you captured it from different perspectives.

    p.s. You write so lovely! :)

  7. These photos are stunning, needless to say. But you also write so conforting words. We all have our Badlands and our wilderness - and how they are a source of emergence. I couldn't agree more!


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