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Enjoy It. While you can.

Just the other day my Mom gave us a print-out with the following quote on it:

“Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast…a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”

She actually handed the page to Jenny while I was working on her computer. I didn’t fully read it, or understand it until last night — after a little research. The quote is from Edward Abbey, known for his writing and advocacy to preserve the American West. It sounds like he was quite a character. “Cactus Ed”. A desert anarchist.

I definitely plan on reading more of his writing.

A few people have asked me why Jenny and I are giving up good jobs, leaving our family, and heading out to Tucson, AZ. The answer is partially in that quote. “…it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.”

Four years ago I asked Jenny to marry me. We were standing next to the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We were a few weeks into what some people called “the trip of a lifetime”. Three months of hiking, exploring and experiencing the amazing wilderness of the West. I’ve always refused to believe that that one trip would define my entire western experience. Actually, I refuse to believe that that one trip would be the only one of it’s kind that I will take in my life. I think Jenny agrees.

I’m looking for more of the experience I briefly tasted four years ago. I’m looking for solitude and peace. I’m looking for sites so spectacular you need to plop down on a rock to steady yourself. I’m looking for history and courage and the paths that other fellow “rugged individualists” took during the last century. I’m looking for a place that inspires the best out of me.

I honestly have no idea if this move is “right” for us, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Over the past four years, I feel like I’ve been slowly deepening my attachment to everything around here. The places, the people, the work. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m glad to have had the experience, but now it’s time to shake things up. We’ll see how it all settles before long.

Originally published on Sunday June 15, 2003 at 12:18 pm

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