Sunday, February 13, 2011

Poets of the Wilderness

I have felt for some time that being a fan of westerns and being an environmentalist went hand in hand.  My appreciation for westerns rose dramatically when I started spending my vacations hiking mountain trails and wandering deserts.  I am halfway through a terrific weird western by Peter Brandvold called Bad Wind Blowing, and part of my enjoyment is that I have rafted down the Poudre River where the novel takes place.  Good western authors write with love and adoration for their setting.  They use the transformative nature of the wild and the freedom to recreate oneself away from society to shape their characters.  If you love the western, you must love the west, and the Earth from which it comes.  With that, here are some better formed words from poets of the wild:

“In God's wildness lies the hope of the world—the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.”- John Muir

“We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may not ever need to go there.”- Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

“To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”- Theodore Roosevelt, State of the Union address

If any of this resonated with you, give a try to High Country News, a great journal for “people who care about the West”.


  1. Great post and you are correct - half of the appeal of westerns is the lure of the wilderness.

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