Friday, January 16, 2009

WHY I FIGHT FOR OPEN SPACE

Our perspective of the real world is slightly warped. X-boxes, microwaves, movies, apartments, MacBooks, cars, cnn, instant chicken noodle soup, Blackberries.....artificial environments that give us an illusion of power. We control all. We know all. We can do all... an indigestible glut of information, and less and less understanding. An Isolate self-centered creature within a synthetic prison of his own making. Despair leads to boredom, electronic games, computer hacking, poetry, and other bad habits. Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion. This illusion quickly disapates when one sits in the middle of no where. In the natural world we become but a tiny insignificant speck. Our perspective lashes out in violent metamorphis. Man verses Wild. Here we come to know God....his measure. Make a mistake here and you pay. Remove yourself from all things artificial and you are humbled. Leave behind our contraptions and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you'll see something, maybe. Open space stretches time and prolongs life. I have a friend who's always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated and anyone can transport himself anywhere, instantly. Big deal, Buckminster. To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.

There are no vacant lots in nature... Love of the wilderness is more than a hunger for peace but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, We need wilderness because we are wild animals. Every man needs a place where he can go crazy in peace. Every Boy Scout deserves a forest to get lost in, parched, tired, wind burned....feeling for the first time. Wilderness is more than the golden arch or the pastoral meadow but also scorpions and tarantulas and flies, rattlesnakes and Gila monsters, sandstorms, heat, chill, bacteria and bear, cactus, yucca, blisters, mesquite, flash floods, quicksand, and yes..,the occasional rotting of flesh.

I'm not saying that I don't use industrial technology or do my share of consumptive polluting or don't appreciate a warm oil furnace...I just need to heal out there from time to time. A bloody knee, a sandpaper tongue, a humbling face scraping fall. Only the half-mad are wholly alive.

Thomas Jefferson said "A little Revolution is good thing". Sometimes you have to do more than write letters. Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top. When I hear the word "culture" today...I reach for my checkbook. What do you do when the blighters have all the real power. Individual democracy has given way to Big interests. The big Buick Electra pulls off the oil to a viewpoint at a National Park. Door opens. The view soon gives way to the stark desert heat. A drop of persperation forms. Door closes. The Ohio tourist soon is back on the oil, sipping a diet coke with the AC blaring. "That was beautiful"... I say, "Keep America Beautiful, Grow a Beard, Burn a Billboard and defend the land. Moderate extremism...to the extreme!!

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys , past temples and castles into a dark primeval forest where elk belch and wolves howl, through mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you --- beyond that next turning of that spooky gulch.....So get out there and hunt and fish and and hike and mess around with your friends, ramble and climb the peaks and breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely mysterious and awesome space...If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture--that is immortality enough for me. Meantime, I'm going to gnaw on this sparerib, drink my diet pepsi, and contemplate the sand in my sandwitch.

A desert sunrise warms my soul. I know its kind of strange but that's how I see things with a little help from my friend Ed.

9 comments:

Cadence said...

dude, so about that, have you heard of "tim dechristopher" ? he's all the rage... I do give him props for what he did on the 19th of December... I went to a "rally" tonight, not in his honor but he spoke. After it was over everyone talked about how to make a difference, well I don't know and I'm no one to speak but have you read michael crichton "state of fear" it was 300 people talking about BS with no intentions to back anything up... just a lot of hot air...
anyway I will write about my wake up call soon and good luck with school...

Bror said...

My father raised us in the great outdoors. We spent every weekend during the summer months fishing. It was great camping out and cooking on the fire. Fresh trout and potatoes are the best from a dutch oven. If we weren't fishing we were hunting. The best times for me is bullshitting around the camp fire at night. Everyone is so chilled and the outside world doesn't bother anyone. Yes, nothing like being in the great outdoors.

Alan said...

Everett, Edward Abbey, Zinj, you're my heroes. Thanks for the inspiration. I have only half a day tomorrow free but when the sun rises it will find me hiking up a mountainside, drinking in that cool dawn air, and soaking in the views of green forests on one side and the ocean glistening in the distance on the other. No Crackberry buzzing on my belt, nothing electronic but a tiny MP3 player playing Mahler's 8th Symphony, a fitting soundtrack to a sunrise.

October Rising said...

i'm 100% with ya on this one! it's an important topic in my profession.

Bravone said...

Wow Zinj! I always have to read your thoughts several times and then surely miss all the meaning there is to glean.

I try to apply your words to my particular situation at the moment. I am weighed heavily with financial worry. It is real and palpable. Yet, when I picture myself in the middle of the desert or on a mountain peak, and ponder upon what is real and truly significant, my worries are put into better perspective. My course becomes more clear.

Truly God's creations inspire humility and greatness whereas man's creations sometimes create voids as they fill our lives with shallow busyness.

Kengo Biddles said...

your first paragraph is the description of why I don't have an iPod. I see people walking around BYU with their heads constantly plugged in -- you can't even greet people because they're on their phone or plugged into the music.

And if a human can't get to them, the Holy Ghost is likely hampered, too. (That's been my experience, when I plug/unplug.)

Thanks for the thoughts, Zinj.

Z i n j said...

Cadence...its hard to make a difference... civil disobedience is sometimes required. I can only claim the cojones once as I defended an archaeological site with some Native Americans against the US Government...in the night we did our work...prosecution was threatened...lies were told by the big boys...we were not allowed to tell the whole story but had to let it go

Z i n j said...

I hear ya Bror....those campfire stories and those dutch oven spuds..none better.

Alan..I still don't think its fair to have an ocean view!!

Just curious October...what profession?

Kengo...cell phones do it to me.

thanks guys

Ezra said...

I think it's a safe assumption that you've read The Monkey-Wrench Gang...

TUNES

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