Why Woodcraft?

Northern England in the age of coal.

For brick and mortar breed filth and crime,
With a pulse of evil that throbs and beats;
And men are withered before their prime
By the curse paved in with the lanes and streets.

And lungs are poisoned and shoulders bowed,
In the smothering reek of mill and mine;
And death stalks in on the struggling crowd—
But he shuns the shadow of oak and pine.

—Nessmuk (George Washington Sears)

Preface to Woodcraft

Wilderness Time – Wise Words from John Muir

Photo from The Daily Beast.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life. Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of rust and disease.”John Muir (1838-1914)

The serenity of the forest. Photo from The Outdoor Project. Click the image for more information.

These thoughts are over 100 years old when the human population of the world was about 1/4 of what it is today…  We need to take heed of these thoughts more than ever.

John Muir

Enjoy the Ride; Happy Birthday Edward Abbey

Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Ride

This is a re-post from last year.  However, I think the message is a strong one and worth think about again.

Life is short.  If you’re fortunate enough to live with the means and privilege and food security, consider yourself lucky.  When I feel low or unhappy, I always want to remember the people subjected to abject poverty worldwide through no fault of their own.  It seems that the privileged, the comfortable, and those with the least to complain about are the most vocal and judgmental and superior acting.  A few words by Edward Abbey from a speech to environmentalists published in High Country News, (24 September 1976), under the title “Joy, Shipmates, Joy!”

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Columbia River 2015, G.T. Crawford.

One final paragraph of advice: […] It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.

Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

Edward Abbey

The Tobasco Donkeys, a little known musical group working at the Philmont Scout Ranch recorded a song using Abbey’s words in one of the verses.  It fits well and brings a smile to my face.

Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Ride

Life is short.  If you’re fortunate enough to live with the means and privilege and food security, consider yourself lucky.  When I feel low or unhappy, I always want to remember the people subjected to abject poverty worldwide through no fault of their own.  It seems that the privileged, the comfortable, and those with the least to complain about are the most vocal and judgmental and superior acting.  A few words by Edward Abbey from a speech to environmentalists published in High Country News, (24 September 1976), under the title “Joy, Shipmates, Joy!”

1024px-Parque_Nacional_de_los-Arcos-Utah2508

One final paragraph of advice: […] It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards. Edward Abbey

The Tobasco Donkeys, a little known musical group working at the Philmont Scout Ranch recorded a song using Abbey’s words in one of the verses.  It fits well.