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last of nothing

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  • lday@pathcom.com
    There is nothing like Nothing when there is almost none of it left. There is nothing like Nothing for imagining everything. There is nothing so profoundly
    Message 1 of 67 , Aug 4, 2001
      "There is nothing like Nothing when there is almost none of it left.
      There is nothing like
      Nothing for imagining everything. There is nothing
      so
      profoundly humbling as beholding the

      last of Nothing."


      Published on Friday, August 3, 2001 in the Los
      Angeles Times
      Arctic Ignorance and Bliss
      by John Balzar

      "How dare you stand up and talk about something when
      you've never been there. Shame on
      you."

      --Alaska Rep. Don Young, speaking on the floor of
      Congress Wednesday in favor of Arctic
      oil drilling.

      Well, I've been there. For two summers, short,
      soaring, bittersweet summers, I worked
      there. Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is
      about the size of Ireland. But it is entirely
      unlike Ireland or anywhere else. It is a charmed
      place, because we have been selfless
      enough to let it live. We deemed it important. One
      corner of our vast but crowded continent
      remains wild, no qualifiers.

      I was a boatman for Alaska wilderness guide Macgill
      Adams. We took tourists in groups of
      half a dozen or so down the rivers of this refuge,
      floating in rafts north out of the Brooks
      Range mountains into the epic flatness of the
      coastal
      plain and onward toward the Beaufort
      Sea.

      Cold Julys. Funnel clouds of mosquitoes. Two grizzly
      bears on a hilltop in the throes of
      ursine passion. A caribou calf on wobbly legs
      lacking
      the courage to cross a river and being
      left behind by the relentless migration. A forlorn
      musk ox prancing toward a mate to
      discover he had found only a tent.

      I remember the sound. The sound of a bush plane
      growling down a sandbar and vanishing
      over a ridgeline, the gasoline noise giving way to
      the tremble of wind on the eardrums in this
      land where there are no trees to rustle the breeze
      and no one to hear your cries for help.
      The sound of wild.

      To enter this land is to intrude. It is as fragile
      as
      a snowflake. Prehistoric fire rings are so
      fresh you might be tempted to touch the tundra and
      feel for the fading heat of 1,000-year-old
      campfire.

      I felt the remorse of a trespasser, but I entered
      anyway. Maybe if I could help others
      experience it, they would add to the constituency to
      hang on to it. That's what I told myself.

      I remember the animals. A foggy day when I awoke and
      looked out the mesh of my tent into
      the eyes of a white wolf. Our gazes locked and the
      white vapors of our breaths touched.
      Then he bolted and tripped. I felt embarrassed for
      his momentary loss of pride. There will
      never be virtual reality to evoke the sensation of
      being surrounded by grizzlies: two in front,
      one to our left, one to our right, one behind us.
      What do we do when this happens? Shrink
      down into the mushy tundra and rejoice in our grand
      good fortune. But rejoice quietly, for the
      grizzlies are feeding.

      I remember the vista. From the 1,000-foot summit of
      the last foothill of this continent: a
      shocking landscape. Plains, uninterrupted from
      horizon to horizon. Hundreds of miles and
      180 degrees of Nothing.

      There is nothing like Nothing when there is almost
      none of it left. There is nothing like
      Nothing for imagining everything. There is nothing
      so
      profoundly humbling as beholding the
      last of Nothing.

      Now the House of Representatives has voted to kill
      it. No, not the animals. The caribou will
      survive. The wolves and the grizzly bears will too
      for a while, although the industrialization
      will open the way for more hunters, more preemptive
      "predator control," a faster race to the
      end. But the first to die, what they will kill in a
      single summer, is the wild.

      The screech of machinery, the dust trails of trucks,
      the glint of midnight sun off acres of
      aluminum buildings, this will be our giant fire ring
      to signal the end.

      My friend who drives an SUV tells me she has her
      reasons and won't give it up. Her choice
      will bequeath her daughter, and mine, a diminished
      future.

      Memories will replace reality, and memories are only
      chump change. At least I have a few
      pennies of it.

      If this administration gets its way in the Senate,
      my
      daughter will climb into my lap in a
      couple of years and ask me what is jingling in my
      pocket. I'll draw out the pennies. I will tell
      her about the home of the snarling wolverine and the
      den of the foxes and the pond nests of
      the loons and the sky dance of the jaegers and the
      flitting song of a rare bluethroat thrush. I
      will tell her that George Bush and Dick Cheney and
      Don Young took that from her for
      pennies of their own.

      "It is the least hospitable area left in America,"
      explained Don Young recently. He was too
      stupid to understand what he said.

      Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times
    • Dave Winslow
      From: lisa ... the ... enables ... for ... was/am ... unique ... Of course Lisa, not that we need view arguments as antagonistic. My family
      Message 67 of 67 , Sep 14, 2001
        From: lisa <oneof10k@...>


        > --- In TaoTalk@y..., "Dave Winslow" <David@W...> wrote:
        > > From: lisa <oneof10k@a...>
        > >
        > > > --- In TaoTalk@y..., "Dave Winslow" <David@W...> wrote:
        > > > > From: lisa <oneof10k@a...>
        > > >
        > > > [...]
        > > >
        > > > > > > and in the case of lovers, some aspects of the connection
        > are
        > > > very
        > > > > > > transferable.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > Dave W.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > The love I have for my children is transferable in that I
        > feel the
        > > > > > same intense caring for them; yet the love is customized to
        > each
        > > > of
        > > > > > them, based on who they are. In the case of lovers, it is
        the
        > > > same.
        > > > > > I'm not sure what you mean about aspects of the connection
        > being
        > > > very
        > > > > > transferable. Would you like to elaborate?
        > > > > >
        > > > > > rgds,
        > > > > > lisa
        > > > >
        > > > > Romantic love is more than other connections in that it
        enables
        > us
        > > > to carry
        > > > > out nature's prime directive -- to reproduce. That aspect of
        > love
        > > > for our
        > > > > partner can be transferred to another. Thanks for asking.
        > > > >
        > > > > Dave W.
        > > >
        > > > Well, there is one aspect :) Others?
        > > >
        > > > Lisa
        > >
        > > If that was another invitation, then thank you.
        > >
        > > I wouldn't say I could transfer my love of one person to another,
        > although
        > > such words that can be told ... I guess I would say that each
        > loved one has
        > > a somewhat unique place in my heart/memory etc., and is distinct,
        > even
        > > though the feelings that come forth are common to all. I think we
        > are saying
        > > the same thing don't you Lisa?
        > >
        > > Dave
        >
        > Yes, I do, Dave. And then, no. Yes in that each loved one has a
        > distinct place in my heart/memory, etc. No, in that the feelings
        for
        > each are distinct too. They are markers, in a sense, of who I
        was/am
        > at the time. How I love/d and how I was/am loved in return is
        unique
        > for each as well.
        >
        > Now Dave, I'm not really trying to argue with you. More like a
        > gentle dialogue between friends.
        >
        > kind regards,
        > lisa

        Of course Lisa, not that we need view arguments as antagonistic. My
        family all loved each other and argued all the time. Here is to dialog
        and love.

        Dave
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