Another seasonal post comes to its end. I have enjoyed a mild winter in the nation’s first Wilderness. Just in time I did finish my fourth local reading: “A Song for the River” by Philip Connors, who spent many seasons in the area as a fire lookout. This book is not so much about the solitude and work ethics of a lookout. It is part autobiography, with all the ups and downs of an unusual career path, part homage to dear friends, and part environmental manifest. The author is a master of his craft.
That from the same man who admits that his soul is covered with hoarfrost 🙂
Besides his environmental concerns the authors shares also a few delightful moments, one which made me giggle. In remembrance of a dear friend, he puts on bright red lipstick standing on the catwalk of his lookout, puckers his lips and waits to be kissed – by a hummingbird.
The Gila Wilderness was proposed by Aldo Leopold as one of the last forested areas in the West that were not crossed by roads of any kind. At the heart of the wilderness is the Gila river, the last free-flowing wild (and scenic) river in New Mexico. At some point some scrupulous politicians and businessmen (men indeed) drew up a plan to build on or more diversion dams to put the water to “better” use. The project would cost a billion dollars, paid for by tax dollars. The benefits were dubious. Making the dusty city of Deming an oasis, providing more farm land for alfalfa for export. It was even proposed the dam would create new habitat for birds (that were already living in the area). This cockamamie plan is rightfully exposed by the author:
If you like Ed Abbey’s writing, give this contemporary a try.
This post was written the same week ExxonMobil posted a record net profit of $56,000,000,000 and ConocoPhilips, the largest producer of crude oil in Alaska, received a nod from the Bureau of Land Management, to develop Willow, a site on the West side of the North Slope, which has had no industrial development to this date. The oil company expects to produce 180,000 barrels a day…
I have witnessed how federal agencies rule and overrule previous decisions. I can only shake my head.
We are at the cusp. When do we and our leaders act accordingly?
Stay positive (note to self).