The Disposable Mountaintop

The Disposable Mountaintop

A leopard doesn’t change his spots – so why do human interlopers so often reach for a new coat? Or, for that matter, new boots…new backpacks…new skis…new things so new in their newness…

Too often the answer precedes the question – if the question is ever asked at all. And that answer is automatic and predictable: ‘This new coat makes me a whole new cat!’, they say. As this subconscious ethos animates the contemporary outdoor community, it’s no wonder that sales of outdoor products continue to increase. In the context of this material explosion, the question must be asked: At what price do the outdoors become inextricably consumerist? Does the mountaintop exist to be climbed, or just to be marketed?

Continue reading “The Disposable Mountaintop”

At the Corner of Truth & Trash

At the Corner of Truth & Trash

Ours is an age defined by refuse – by refusing, that is, to deal with our refuse.

Trash accumulates in all areas of the planet, including – and especially – America’s treasured national parks. A recent, personal, non-scientific survey of Yosemite’s iconic attractions reveals a pernicious aggressor. Few outdoor enthusiasts would encourage littering, yet many cause this offense, often doing so unwittingly. Resolving the issue necessitates a much higher degree of coordination between park officials and attendees.

Continue reading “At the Corner of Truth & Trash”

Down With The Watchmakers

Down With The Watchmakers

Too often a memory of swooping spectacle; too often the food, the drink, the cost. All said, all done, all consumed, in detail. Still, the writing pours forth, as if the world lacked autobiographical banalities.

Continue reading “Down With The Watchmakers”

Perspective is Fleeting

Perspective is Fleeting

Even to the familiar, the crossing of California’s famed coastal highway above Elkhorn Slough is ignominious. The estuary brushes against farmland and smokestacks; the roadway barrels through tiny vistas. But a bridge can’t see what a kayak can feel. At the paddle’s edge travel the unmuted forms of tidal ecology: pelicans, seals, otters, rays…

Continue reading “Perspective is Fleeting”

The Indefinite Third

The Indefinite Third

Beginning whole then fragmenting, condensing, clotting, generation by generation, descends the family wisdom. But it passed over me. Or passed under me – I wouldn’t know. For on a recent day as my hiking path wore treewards, the trail seemed more personal than any ancestral message I could recall. No idiom nor motto nor slogan stuck as deeply as a winter burr, and that distinction, so I thought, is a deficit. And immediately, doubt rang the doorbell of my mind: it taunted my family’s way without words.

Continue reading “The Indefinite Third”