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WildernessPunk 6/12/17 Attitudes

Confusion abounds and confounds.

Strange to think how different my life was twelve months ago. Last year, I lived in an apartment away from my children through no choice of mine. Now I’m not only with them, but it appears I will be rescuing them. It’s just up to me to figure out how.

Like many times in life, it comes down to choices, hard choices, but perhaps good ones, especially for a man who claims to embrace chaos. Still change is painful and uprooting can suck. Strange to think throughout my entire life, even as a child, I had never resided anywhere longer than the Pine house I currently call home. Hell, I’ve remained in the mountain paradise of Flagstaff for seventeen years.

Flag

Yes, Flagstaff is a paradise of sorts, with its ripping downtown scene, perfect summers, and it location close to hundreds of exciting places to explore. In many ways, the latter is the most important to me. When one lives in Flag, you can work all day and still get to Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and even Nevada in time to set up and camp before dinner. Yet paradise has its costs and boy howdy, does it cost a lot to live in Flagtown.

So… it becomes a strange conundrum. In order to live in this wild and wilderness zone, you have to be part of the rat race you escaped from to be here. Not that I’ve been a big part of the rat race for the last year, but as if the town senses I’ve been riding on its back without paying my America Scream dues, it’s trying to buck me off.

Perhaps this won’t happen, but would it be bad if it did?

I suppose there are several schools in life when it comes to where you live. Some folks like to stay in one place. They want to keep the friends and contacts they have collected over the years. I think this grows truer as we age. Not only are the friends we’ve known for so long more precious, but our ability to make new ones diminishes.

Younger folks can move to a new place and gather new friends quickly, Others young and old wish to experience and explore the world as much as they can. Still, what people wish to discover and explore can be quite different. Some seek, cities, culture and people, while for others exploring could mean seeing new vistas and environments.

As mentioned above, this latter idea of exploring new environments and places is what made Flagstaff so wonderful for me. Yet, could it be time to do more than explore remote spaces. Perhaps it’s time I try my hand at living more in the wilds full time?

However, with most loving parents, much of my reality circles around my small children. I need to do right by them, but what’s right?

I contemplate such issues and concerns from my camp chair nestled in the forests of the Apache Nation in the White Mountains of Arizona. I’ll (Oh so luckily) be here a few more days. A river with a water crest covered island is just a few hundred yards below me. Animals and wild horses travel at ease through the mighty trees.

River

But this place is not my primary goal. What I am setting out to do is enter the half abandoned desert town of Glenwood New Mexico. Not much on the way of jobs or anything else there, but compared to the college, wealthy second home town of Flagstaff, the rent will be perhaps less than half. Could this be the ideal writer’s retreat? The almost ghost town clinging to the White Water River where it spills out of the Gila Mountain Wilderness?

I suppose I’ll find out, but for now it’s time to get my kids going and make a picnic to take down to our river wonderland.

 

***

 

The river is warmer than expected and my older son learned he could wade over the slick rocks, at least a little, without parental aid.

I seem to be slipping back into journal mode a bit here, which was never the primary goal of WildernessPunk. WildernessPunk is not something just meant to be mine, but rather an exploration of the topic of how nature integrates or could integrate into the lives of people so involved in a world controlled by technology.

island

Thirty years ago, many people did lead lives based on technology. Whether you worked for a phone company or build cars in a factory, some level of the current high tech helped you make your cash. Now, however, almost everyone has large parts of their days revolve around tech of some kind. Some people spend hours each week on Facebook and such things. Others have hundreds of movies to indulge in just a click away, if they don’t feel like searching through their 700 channels. Most of us are never apart from the unending internet, with our hand held computers we decided to call smart phones. Children will all grow up considering this is a normal and acceptable manner in which to live, but is it—says the man typing on a laptop in the middle of the forest.

Writer's chair

Still my point is not to bash on tech as much to somehow mesh it with wilderness in a positive way. Can technology save our wildernesses, instead of being used for more effective ways of destroying it as has happened for the last five thousand years.

I think one of the things which will need to occur is a change in attitude. I often see the same type of people who would fight to preserve a section of forest be the first to complain about the idea of bio-engineering animals or changing the DNA to improve crops. Saving the world will require sacrifices.  Some might be ethical, others will involve comfort and convenience, but they will all involve a change in attitude.

It’s easy to become so spoiled with our current level of auspicious grandeur, that we come to think of all the things we have as normal, even though our grandparents could only maybe do 1% of the things our children do when they lived their youth.

Just think about your day. Go through the whole thing and don’t ignore the small tasks or other things we take so for granted we barely consider them. Now compare your day and what you do to someone living in 1880. I’m sure those people back then considered themselves normal and progressive, but if you raised your children in a manner completely acceptable in those times, Child Protective Services would probably end up stealing them from you.

Wake up:

Our World                                                                              1880s

Turn on lights                                                                                    No

Work the oven or microwave                                                              No

Eat food transported a long distance                                                    No

Watch the news on Television                                                            No

Brush Teeth                                                                                       No

Shower                                                                                              No

Deodorant                                                                                         No

Check your cell phone texts                                                               No

Drive to work                                                                                    No

Work in a temperature controlled Environment                                   No

Check Emails                                                                                    No

Check Voice Messages                                                                      No

Go to a grocery store where 10,000 types of food are available            No

Eat any type of meal you wish                                                            No

Choose from hundreds of books and movies                                       No

Set your climate control to whatever you wish                                    No

 

Okay, I think you get the point.

So why is it, what was normal and appropriate in 1880 would probably get your kids stolen, make you unemployable, or at the very least the weirdest person everyone knew, if you lived like that now? Still, think about for a moment and wrap your head around who had a lower impact on the environment?

I would, off the top of my head, guess 1880 guy or gal would have about 1 100th the environmental impact everyone you know is making each year. Yet, if I was most people’s neighbor and I was living 1880 style, I’d probably get the cops called on me. If I was renting a place, I’d be kicked out within weeks.

So we all want to protect the environment, but if we saw someone doing 100 times better at the job than us, we would most likely think of him as some sort of homeless loser long before saluting his impressive effort.

Again, it might be time to reevaluate our thought processes if we want this world to live. Are we going to keep congratulating ourselves for recycling and buying a low energy dishwasher or are we really going to try to step up and make some tough choices? I’m not expecting 1880, but if you are giving maybe 3% just admit, fuck, I’m part of this big problem. Sure, I don’t expect you to throw your cell phone into the fire, but how about we try to make that 3% more like 26%?

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Boney II

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You can grab some of my fiction here, which I promise has nothing to do with this.

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