On The Right Trail

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”

The wonderfully wicked Edward Abbey wrote that. His life rambling around the United States, from the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania to the deserts of the American Southwest inspired many to love the world around them. With biting humor and elegant description he observed a world in transition, one in which the great open spaces he revered were being tamed by multi-lane highways and strip malls. His books The Monkey Wrench Gang and Hayduke Lives! detail the fictional yet autobiographical (un)civil disobedience of halting construction of dams and developments in the canyonlands along the Colorado River, and are must-reads for anyone fighting the powers that be.

The natural world is not just here for scientists to study and politicians to vote on. It is here for artists, for writers, for those who love to play, for those who love to reap, for those who love to breathe clean air and drink clean water. When we walk a trail outside we must remember that trails can be metaphorical as well, that we make choices every day that affect where we are going as individuals and as a society. Though it may not be the easiest path to follow, making sure we are good stewards of the planet, our home, will lead us to the best possible outcomes or, as Edward Abbey might say, the most amazing views.

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