Saturday, February 12, 2011

I Love the Mountains Day

Love Mountains Poster
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Every year, the last few years, we have found ourselves in our state's capitol on Valentine's Day, expressing our love for the mountains and our opposition to their destruction. Kentucky author Wendell Berry - God bless him! - has, in fact, camped out at the governor's office this weekend in protest.

Unfortunately, our Democrat governor has placed himself on the side of (in the pocket of?) coal companies and is suing the EPA for daring to actually do its job and "P" the "E!"

The story about opposition to Mountaintop Removal can be found here.

And so, I ask any readers who are so inclined to think of our wonderful mountains and valleys this weekend. Think of the gall it takes to believe it is acceptable to blow off the top of hundreds of mountains for the sake of cheap energy. Artificially and unjustly cheap energy. Pray for the opposition, if you are a praying sort. Write letters, if you are a letter-writing sort. Change your lifestyles so that it is less dependent upon cheap fossil fuels, if you are a bold sort.

Thanks. I'll leave you with some quotes on creation from Marvelous Mr. Muir...

The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right.

Fresh beauty opens one's eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common everyday beauty.

Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue...

Brought into right relationships with the wilderness, man would see that his appropriation of Earth's resources beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance and begat ultimate loss and poverty by all.

Any fool can destroy trees [and, I would add, Mountains - dt]. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed - chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides. Branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests...

Who publishes the sheet-music of the winds or the music of water written in river-lines?

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life...

These temple-destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar. Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water-tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man.

How infinitely superior to our physical senses are those of the mind! The spiritual eye sees not only rivers of water but of air. It sees the crystals of the rock in rapid sympathetic motion, giving enthusiastic obedience to the sun's rays, then sinking back to rest in the night. The whole world is in motion to the center. So also sounds. We hear only woodpeckers and squirrels and the rush of turbulent streams. But imagination gives us the sweet music of tiniest insect wings, enables us to hear, all around the world, the vibration of every needle, the waving of every bole and branch, the sound of stars in circulation like particles in the blood...

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.

No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening - still all is Beauty!

God never made an ugly landscape. All that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild...

Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

You can read more wonderful Muir excerpts here.


John said...

Please define the term "unjustly cheap".

Dan Trabue said...

If a company makes widgets and can do so responsibly at $10/widget, that's accurate pricing.

If they can dump waste into the stream behind their factory and, by so doing, reduce their price to $5/widget, that is artificially cheap.

And, in addition to being artificially cheap, because they are dumping waste and polluting a stream, they are unjustly causing hardship to innocent bystanders. That is what I mean by unjustly cheap.


I think that, while flawed, a reasonably well-regulated market does a fairly good job on many levels. However, if we allow producers to make artificially cheap products, that skews the system and makes it unravel. We need to avoid that.


John said...

Yes. That is reasonable, and I agree.