Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gary Snyder-"The Practice of the Wild"

On this Earth Day, 2009 I want first to thank Leesa Wright and Jake Reeder, a new and very active member of CEC, for their timely posts today. They remind us of the complex conservation work that we at CEC engage in every day, and their work from now on will keep all Mountaineers members aware of developments on the most important conservation issues of our day, especially in Washington State.

Second, I'd like to post a short paragraph from an essay by Gary Snyder called "On the Path, Off the Trail" from his book The Practice of the Wild. Snyder writes:

"Our skills and works are but tiny reflections of the wild world that is innately

and loosely orderly. There is nothing like stepping away from the road and

heading into a new part of the watershed. Not for the sake of newness, but for

the sense of coming home to our whole terrain. 'Off the Trail' is another name

for the Way, and sauntering off the trail is the practice of the wild. That is also

where--paradoxically--we do our best work. But we need trails and paths and

will always be maintaining them. You must first be on the path, before you can

turn and walk into the wild."

Snyder explains that "Way," derived from the Taoist Dao De Jing, means "way, road, trail, or to lead/follow," and "the nature and way of truth." We can walk off the trail to find the wilderness that we have not seen before, as when we summit a mountain, but we also need paths and trails to lead us to understand our place within that wilderness and what we have to do to preserve it--and ourselves within it. So on this Earth Day, let us all ponder for a moment the Way we are following as we try to learn how to walk gently in the wilderness we love.

Kind regards,

Mike Shurgot

CEC Chair

No comments: