A happy thought

Posted by Ken Campbell January 23, 2009 0 Comment 555 views

I was thinking about the economy, the demise of American kayak manufacturers and the shrinking polar ice caps this morning. Can you blame me for being a grouch?

It’s funny how one thought can lead into another, and another, until the weight of it all turns even the lightest heart into stone. I am, it seems, something of a pessimist about the future of the environment, both locally as well as globally. I contribute to environmental causes and I support the protection and preservation of wild areas – the Olympic peninsula being a prime example. I can’t help but worry, however, that it’s not enough, that it won’t ultimately matter. The course has been set.

And then, thumbing through a dog-eared copy of Down the River, I stumble across this admonition from the late Edward Abbey, and it brings it all back into sharper focus, those more important things: “Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast … a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotised by desk calculators. I promise you this; you will outlive the bastards.”

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