If you’ve never stared off in the distance, Then your life is a shame

RED by Terry Tempest Williams

pg 11 “No important change in ethics was ever accomplished without an internal change on our intellectual emphasis, loyalties, affections and convictions. The proof that conservation has not yet touched these foundations of conduct lies in the fact that philosophy and religion have not yet heard of it. ” Aldo Leopold Has this changed since Leopold wrote Sand County Almanac in 1949? Are we on the right path or are we still trivializing conservation?

I really like Native American cultures and I believe that the rest of the American population could learn a lot from just listening to their ideas and attitudes toward nature. Example on pg 31. The Navajo children ” sung themselves back to hozhq, where the world is balanced and whole”.

Buried Poems page 37. I liked this chapter. Burying  the poems was a ridiculous but kind of ingenious was to get people step back and look at the landscape around them. There was a renewed intrigue and interest in Anasazi culture. “The next thing we’ll hear is that the locals wan to preserve the wilderness for its poetry” pg 42.

pg 51. “It’s called theft in the name of preservation,” he says. “The ladder is held hostage at the local museum. It belongs to the desert. It must be returned.” It’s true, somethings just should be left undisturbed. I thought this part was important because it points out that not all acts of preservation are good and should not be assumed to be so.

pg 100 “The broad protection of large, sweeping landscapes in America, the designation of our national parks and monuments, has most often been accomplished not by sentiments of local politicians and adjoining communities but by the president’s hand boldly signing a proclamation in the name of the people.” I didn’t realize this and just thought it was worth noting because it is in contrary to what I think most people believe.

pg 133 “twenty years ago a child or young person was able to differentiate 360 shades of red, and today that’s down to something like 30 shades, which means subtleties are lost to the pure, heavy impact of red.”I like her discussion of subtleties. I agree that a lot of the time we are so focused on the big picture, but so often the great parts of nature are the subtleties are beautiful, unique, ever-changing, sometimes complex, other times pure and simple. I think if we could appreciate these subtleties more often we would be more appreciative of the beauty and complexity of the nature surrounding us.

We wanted more.

We wanted less.

I wish everyone thought this way every once in a while.

Terry Williams discusses the issues of preservation and conservation by describing concrete problems as well as examining abstract values of the Utah wilderness. I enjoyed her muses, ramblings, discussions and proposals. Some of the important aspects of nature that she focused on to make her call for preservation include themes of freedom, release, and connection. I enjoyed the contrast between Red and Desert Solitaire but they both have very similar goals. Williams describes how from wilderness comes language, culture, inner peace, fulfilment, a deeper understanding, humility. I think it is an effective way of getting people to appreciate the desert and convincing people to get involved in preserving it.

pg 61 “Wilderness is not a belief. It is a place.”  I think it is both. And both aspects are equally important.

One Response to If you’ve never stared off in the distance, Then your life is a shame

  1. John Krygier says:

    Yo, good comments, points for discussion.

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