Yessterday evening I met up with an old friend and her friend, and we all went for a hike in the foothills. We took a “shortcut” to the trailhead (on 18th Avenue and…um…Liberty Road?) and then walked up, and around, and finally down into City Creek and back home to 10th Avenue on the pavement. But the grass was still green on the foothills, there was wild rhubarb by the stream, the evening light was high and clear and yellow–and we got to talk about Robert Hass’s poems. So a good evening.
Here’s a quote I found from The Enormous and Ongoing Inspirational Quote Project that seemed to relate:
Why should all the major religions of the modern world include a crucial encounter with wilderness—Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed in the desert mountains, Siddhartha in the jungle? And why should the predominant modern view of the origin and development of life have arisen from the five-year wilderness voyage of a Victorian amateur naturalist named Charles Darwin? …Placing Darwin in the tradition of Moses and Jesus may seem heresy from both the Judeo-Christian and scientific viewpoints, but I think the roles played by the three figures have been similar. They wrenched their respective cultures out of a complacency that amounted to self-worship and thrust them in new directions that (if not always entirely beneficial) enlarged the human perspective. Moses forced his society to accept a unifying law; Jesus forced his to accept the unity of all humanity; Darwin forced his to accept the unity of all life. I doubt whether any of the three would have been able to influence his society if he had not been fortified by a season in the wilderness.
David Rains Wallace (b. 1945), U.S. naturalist, essayist. “Tracks in the Wilderness,” The Klamath Knot, Sierra (1983).