Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Tonight I spent a few minutes reading A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold and then went for a drive. I'm not sure why, but I ended up in a canyon near my place and it was one of the best decisions I've made all week.

The night was beautiful up there it was raining in the valley but there it was snowing lightly. I'm always amazed of just how much fresh snow changes things. It covers the world in such a way that no other natural phenomena can. All of the imperfections of the day to day are gone. A fresh sheet, a new slate. Even the tire marks were beginning to fade as I trudged on.

When I reached the end of the road, I was at a parking lot that is used for a small reservoir and also an unloading place for dirt bikes and the like. I pulled up to the edge where the snow had been piled up from plows and with my high beams, and tried to peer across the small body of water to the other side. I couldn't see anything. I turned off my car, unplugged my ipod, covered the annoying blinking lights, and sat. As one would expect, slowly my eyes adjusted to the light available. Then I remembered one of my favorite quotes from Edward Abbey that goes like this.

“There's another disadvantage to the use of the flashlight: like many other mechanical gadgets it tends to separate a man from the world around him. If I switch it on my eyes adapt to it and I can see only the small pool of light it makes in front of me; I am isolated. Leaving the flashlight in my pocket where it belongs, I remain a part of the environment I walk through and my vision though limited has no sharp or definite boundary.” 

It was nice to feel like I was closer to the natural world. (Keep in mind, I didn't actually get out of the car. I love nature, but it was freezing cold and snowing. Plus I have an irrational fear of cougars.)

So there I sat, with my car off letting the warmth radiate out of the car and into the night sky.And
I realized a few things. 1) I don't want my tracks to be covered up when I'm done here. I want to be remembered, and honestly I know that isn't weird but I've never before felt that in my own life with the clarity and very real possibility that it holds. When we leave here, our only contribution is through the lives of others. 2) I've felt like lately I've been turning my wheels and staying so busy but I am not making much progress. I need to better focus my activities while at the same time seeing the big picture. Turn off my proverbial flashlight as Abbey says. It was all very beautiful.

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