Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Today I learned that it is Blog Action Day, an international call to arms focusing on the environment. [Thanks to Michelle at bleeding espresso for alerting me.] My mind staggers when I consider the task at hand... How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. One bicycle, one appliance, one letter, one tote bag, one light switch, one song, one clothesline, one conversation...

To return once again to Robert Frost, three more things I am sure are true: books, our connection to the natural world, and the possibility for change. Unfortunately, the first can be hard to read and may be an endangered species in some areas; the second is tenuous and frayed for many of us; and the third is often convicted without a fair trial. Thankfully, the first can also be dangerous and empowering; same goes for the second and third.

Rocky Mountain Institute - Thanks to my friend Dan for the thoughtful link. Much like the words to Imagine, the recent speech by Amory Lovins included on this site is naively optimistic and quixotic by some standards. Is this man crazy to profess that we can solve our problems? Was Lennon? Dr. King? RFK? Having just finished watching Bobby, a powerful movie about the day of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination, the spectors of fallen visionaries loom large before me. I am my parents' son, and their characters were forged in large part during that turbulent time. Over the weekend, they saw a production of The Man of La Mancha; my mom reminded me that we can still dream the impossible dream. We can. For a start, we should be tilting at oil derricks and putting windmills in their place. And riding bicycles.

Most of my favorite writers can be grouped together on a stage, or better in a tent, or better yet on a ridge labeled "Nature/Environment." Thoreau. Edward Abbey. Jack Kerouac. Gary Snyder. David James Duncan. Annie Dillard. Wendell Berry. Bill McKibben. Some of them might not get along with each other; others were downright anti-social. Individually and especially collectively they are dangerous, possibly in the way Don Quixote's tales of chivalry were dangerous. One thing I can guess: if Abbey saw me typing this, he'd probably guffaw and tell me to throw my computer at something and get on with it. If you haven't read any snarling writers recently, maybe you should. I should.

One book I would pick up tonight if I had it with me is Poets on the Peaks by the photographer John Suiter. It is a beautiful book about Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Jack Kerouac, their friendships, and the time each spent as fire lookouts in the North Cascades in Washington State. I have long wanted to serve as a fire lookout, but I don't know if I will make it. I can live vicariously. Whalen, in a letter to Gary about his explorations of Buddhism, wrote:

Personally I feel the need for the Mahayana kind of deal - coming back to the village with gift-bestowing hands, as differing from the Vedantist and Hinayana kind of solipsism. But I don't say that their kind isn't needed; the world needs more sages than anything else right now. More prayer wheels, more visions, more poems, more magic.

Amen, Phil. In order to understand what you're saying, I have some more research I need to do, some more bites I need to take, but I second that.

The greatest earth on show.

39 comments:

sognatrice said...

Awesome, awesome post. Now I'm off to find some snarly writers (although I'll have to stick to online for now because of the severe lack of libraries around here)....

The Daily Rant said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog! Appreciate the comment.

No, Eddie didn't have time to get any of that cotton candy in his beard - between the two of us, if any of it even slightly fell from his lip, it was quickly snatched up midair!!

Fango said...

Mille grazie, DR & BE - keep on witcher bad selves. I'm going to be reading more Rumi again, thanks to DR. Was he ever snarly? He would surely have a thing or two to say about the current state of affairs.

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