Our relationship will survive.
The irony of our existence is this: We are infinitesimal in the
grand scheme of evolution, a tiny organism on Earth. And yet,
personally, collectively, we are changing the planet through our
voracity, the velocity of our reach, our desires, our ambitions,
and our appetites. We multiply, our hunger multiplies, and our
insatiable craving accelerates.
We believe in more, more possessions, more power, more war.
Anywhere, everywhere our advance of aggression continues.
My aggression toward myself is the first war.
Wilderness is an antidote to the war within ourselves.
In Gates of the Arctic, following caribou tracks, I am finding
Would you believe me if I told you I was skipping?
We came by wings.
Yes, our ability to travel here is a privilege.
But it is also a choice. Money is time. Where do we spend our
time? Watching cable TV, walking the streets of Paris, or fishing
for bass on Lake Powell? People talk about leisure. Wilderness is
not my leisure or my recreation. It is my sanity.
These valleys, these rivers — creased, folded, and pushed. What
wisdom mountains house. My God—they are Gods. My God
has feet of Earth. We are but flickering moths in migration.
In a circumference of beauty, we join the dilemma of the Little
Prince: Where do we turn our chairs? Where do we set our gaze?
The yellow-billed loon alone on the lake: Does he know his numbers are few, that he is a candidate for care under the Endangered
The tribe of white wolves meeting on the mountain: Do they
know they are an open target for helicopter hunters crossing
boundaries no one can enforce?
The emissaries of caribou, crowned and rising: Can they taste
the oil bubbling up through the melting permafrost?
The legacy of the Wilderness Act is a legacy of care. It is the
act of loving beyond ourselves, beyond our own species, beyond our own time. To honor wildlands and wild lives that we
may never see, much less understand, is to acknowledge the
world does not revolve around us. The Wilderness Act is an act
of respect that protects the land and ourselves from our own
The tundra is red and ripe with blueberries. Bears with blue-stained tongues, just like mine, anticipate the winter.