OUR HEARTFELT THANKS FOR YOUR WILD VOICE!
Loren Eiseley tells a story of being caught in a sudden and vigorous storm on a beach and taking shelter under a piece off driftwood... where a tiny fox pup and his even smaller chicken bone were also seeking refuge. In only a few minutes Eiseley, the ever curious naturalist, and the fox were playing a tug of war with the chicken bone. Eiseley called it one of the most profound experiences of his life.
N. Scott Momaday writes of a pine grosbeak, "round and rose-colored," high in a lodgepole pine "where the branches of the tree seemed to ride across the blue sky." Many of us have felt this very scene throughout the Uintas! Annie Dillard came eye to eye with a pine marten and exchanged a knowing, understanding stare not uncommon in the Uintas! Aldo Leopold wondered whether a mountain can truly be a wild mountain without bear and changed the foundation of his life, and many others', when he watched the green fire of wolf eyes die. He defined time by the cycle of sandhill cranes' coming and going. D. H. Lawrence suggested the "sense of wonder" is the sixth sense. Van Morrison's album, A Sense of Wonder, song of the same name, starts with "I walked in my greatcoat/ Down through the days of leaves..." Burroughs, Muir, and Thoreau devoted their lives to wonder. Barry Lopez allowed us to dance with nonhuman native critters so the drought would end-- and the river returned. Simply putting your hand in the river "is to feel the cords that bind the earth together in one piece."
Rarely are the truly great events center-stage. Learning to see and wonder about the humble and deep is where hope lies. Wendell Berry has noted miracles are common plad on ce-- he calls them our "daily bread." As he notes, water to wine is nothing compared to water, soil and sunlight to grapes!
It is wild land, truly wild places like the Uintas, that allow us to step off center-stage and actually live with a bit of humbleness. There is nothing of note in building another road, cutting down a forest, or roaring a snowmobile through a silent winter landscape. It is easy, no restraint, center-stage stuff. How that forest came to be with the intricate weaves and patterns of so many lives is and always will rest beyond our grasp. Hook all the super computers together, probably the epitome of center stage thinking, to model the forest and we still won't get its essence. We still won't understand the next lightning strike, wind storm, or patch of forest opened up when a healthy tree falls. We still won't understand why Bear picked that den, why Goshawk built her first nest in that stand, why this Wolf and then that Wolf came here and set up a pack against that scree slope overlooking that small creek, or why cow Elk watch their calves play in the early summer in that alpine meadow.
So sadly, the land managers and many others will dismiss all of this as spiritual drivel. What does it matter, they will argue. We know what resources they need, how to manipulate and get something out of those resources, how to measure them and categorize them. We know what wolves need, for example, and where they should live and how to manage them. They are ours, after all, their lives measured for value by us... And therein we take the life, wild-life, out of everything. All of existence becomes nothing more than a simple object to be studied and eventually dismissed as a resource by the self- appointed subject!
Henry Beston, as eloquently as can be stated, noted this dilemma when he suggested these others and their homes are not deficient; rather, they are part of a world far older and more complete than we are able to recognize because we have so willingly shoved everything aside to be center stage. Joseph Wood Krutch warned us when this happens we will have condemned ourselves to "nothing except a more numerous breed."
Wild and wondrous voice. Deep and humble. This is a voice of praise, of passion and spirit, of mystery. We will never have enough and will always seek more understanding of conservation science, but it can never be unhooked from wonder, from mystery. And nowhere is this pervasive pattern of life more relentless and able to teach us deep joy than in wild places like the Uintas. This passion and respect is the wild voice. While sometimes it seems that we often lose battle after battle, our wild voices literally change the language. Hope rolls on!
Good friend of the High Uintas Preservation Council, we are profoundly grateful for your support, your friendship, the hope you offer and the beauty of your wild voice!