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Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen

There was a time way back when I believed in the crack of light but who would have thought the blue of the Gulf of Mexico would turn brown? Unbelievable, and if this goes on for another couple of months, unbelievable but likely, much, much more will be stained. Well, a lot of us thought this, but it was universally dismissed as being too negative. And with the ascension of OIL as god and the escalation of technology as faith, it is more than discouraging.

If heaven isn’t on EARTH, right here and now, then EARTH is the next best place and we’ve done pretty damn wrong by her. But I’m pretty sure heaven is on EARTH. Moose and calf hugging close together in a cycle and drama of the deepest meaning of love and life, a miracle deep in the woods surpassing anything in the good book.

But who wants to hear all or any of this? The wing nuts have their standard drama. We have ours. All of them harbor a belief that what is wrong can be fixed-- more regulations or none; more corporations, fewer corporations: more democrats, fewer republicans; better environmental laws, fewer laws, old constitution, new constitution; bring on Armageddon, fight like hell to prevent it.

Good friend, Dave Jorgensen, and trusted HUPC board member, recently wrote of being so discouraged after the Ashley National Forest travel plan: “Had the Ashley cared at all about wilderness, they could easily have come up with a travel plan that did not encroach on roadless areas adjacent to the High Uintas Wilderness. But, they didn't even try.”

More importantly they didn't want to try. But they, with fervor, invited ORVs and OIL onto the forest. They could have proposed hundreds of miles of wild and scenic rivers. No, also. Both the Wasatch and Ashley could do something hopeful for bighorn sheep. No, again. Or end non-native recreational-based fish stocking in the High Uintas Wilderness. No. Not to mention grazing and pretending it is okay. Or the endlessly stupid chasing of pine beetles around the forest with thousands and thousands and thousands of acres of clear-cuts decade after decade... And it is not just No. It is, NO, we will not even enter into these discussions. Sue us, appeal, we welcome and encourage that, but we will not engage in the discussion.

In an email from good friend Dan Daiels of Basel, Switzerland came this quote, "The goal of life is living in agreement with nature." Zeno (335 BC - 264 BC), from Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers. What is remarkable about this is that it is truly ancient. It is true and has been said over and over, again and again. Millennia after millennia! Unheeded and unlearned, over and over, again and again. I suppose it is the proverbial search (U2’s “But I still haven't found what I'm looking for...,” or Yusuf’s (Cat Stevens), “Miles from nowhere, guess I’ll take my time to reach there...”) that gives meaning.

But I’m menaced by something still deeper. Moose and her calf, roaming her world with purpose. The search is not ours alone.

Dick Carter

In 1973 I arrived in Utah, fresh off the Sawtooth Wilderness in Idaho, where I wrangled and packed mules for the U.S. Forest Service. I worked with a tribe of other young, seasonal, wilderness rangers, one of whom, Dick Carter, would become my life partner. I had left northern California seeking a life of horses and big spaces; his home was Utah. When my summer job ended, I moved to Utah with him. In our first week in Zion, he introduced me to a secret place in Naturalist Basin in the High Uintas Primitive Area. I was twice smitten.

I can’t remember when I added my first pen and ink drawing to a newsletter asking for public voices to defend a wild place, but it was probably a Wilderness Society publication, probably in 1975. I always felt that illustration of Dick’s words would help readers connect with the desperation of the beauty and wildness to be lost. For 35 years I have been fortunate to share my interpretation of some of the most incredible places on Earth with other environmentalists in the pages of the High Uintas

Preservation Council LYNX and the Utah Wilderness Association REVIEW. If you spotted a repeated illustration (or a dozen), you share the angst in the creation of a Utah activist newsletter that reports ad nauseam the failure of public land agencies to do the right thing, their persistence in reviving bad projects cloaked in new names, and their consistent choice of extraction, enhancement and “improvement” rather than leaving it wild.

Forever we must cherish that meaningful act we achieved together in 1984--protection of the High Uintas Wilderness.
Today, in the shadow of the death of the Gulf of Mexico, this is a hard little narra- tive to compose. But I wish all of our members who have consistently shown love of the Uintas and other wild places a deep peace. Take a silent walk up a trail in the wild Uintas where the sounds of what really matters will fill your heart.


Margaret Pettis HUPC editor, artist, co-founder

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