Quote of the Day:
“ If it’s wild to your own heart, protect it. Preserve it. Love it. And fight for it, and dedicate yourself to it, whether it’s a mountain range, your wife , your husband, or (heaven forbid) your job. It doesn’t matter if it’s what makes your heart sing, if it’s what makes your days soar like a hawk in the summertime, then focus on it. Because for sure, it’s wild, and if it’s wild, it’ll mean you are free. No matter where you are.
This is a powerful and compelling quote from my favorite naturalist and outdoors writer is Rick Bass. He has Nine Mile Wolves and Deer Pasture and many more. So if you need a lift during this hot and muggy summer take a break to enjoy Rick’s love affair with nature. In many of his books he writes about the beauty and freedom of nature and his struggle to find a place where he can make a living. The following excerpt from Wild to the Heart, Norton 1987, a collection of essays about a journey of passion, renewal and freedom is a perfect message for us to reflect on because most of us have the illusion that running away to the mountains would be perfect way to solve our daily struggles.
Rick’s writing, idealism and activism in the wilds of Montana are physical and touching. But in many ways living out in the last frontier of wilderness with his nearest neighbor a mile away doesn’t give him freedom it only provides the space for more reflection. For much of the last decade, Bass has used his art – his great skills and talents as a writer – to help his activism. His essays on natural history and the environment are some of the most eloquent pieces of nonfiction writing in recent memory. For most of that period, Bass convinced himself that his art and his activism were complementary. Now he’s not so sure. So the struggle we all have for meaning and freedom even exists as you try to live a “Walden life” of Thoreau. This existential struggle is summed up best by this quote:
“Activism is war, and you can make some fine stories and even a fine novel out of war. But you can’t do that for life. Instead of nurturing and developing the empathetic worldview necessary for good fiction, you train yourself in the other direction. And then there is the element of time. I’m putting in eight hours a day easy on the computer or in lobbying, educating and running different organizations. And then there’s family time that’s just so precious that I’m not going to let anything get in the way of it. That means that fiction takes a back seat to family and activism. The good news is that I’ve got a chance to effect change, permanent change on a landscape. I’d be a fool to complain.”
In a world that many times asks us to make false choices Rick Bass provides hope and inspiration about the power of nature and man’s ability to lead a life of purpose. Enjoy the day and always remain–wild at heart and if you have time ponder the following question:
–How do you live a meaningful life no matter where you are and the struggles you face? For me it is looking up and seeing a hawk soar and remembering the freedom I have to choose what this life is about. What is your answer to this dilemma ?