Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Day in the Life....

Sitting just below the highest point in the Ruahine, Mangaweka, looking down into the head waters of the Kawhatau valley and the main Ruahine range beyond.

25 Feb. 2010

I am not sure which hurts more right now. This ever troubling and degenerating hip, now reducing me to the gait of a very old man, the prospects in my current condition of sitting there above with John in such a place as remote as being on the moon, the pain like loose ends of electric wires running through my groin and down my knee which any wrong movement ignites. So I try to put myself back in places like above, where my soul burst free and waves of amazement and euphoria washed through me and cleansed me of the grime and guilt accrued out here, where I walked free and easy and roamed with a smile instead of an ever increasing grimace. Though even in good times in the Ruahine I often grimaced!
Or I wonder perhaps instead if I feel even more this pain deep inside me as a result of the unrelenting attack upon our wild places by our own government, and how in the eyes of so many it seems to make it right. These past few weeks when I have been really focused on trying to, from a grass roots approach, engage people I met through out my day, family, friends, in how they felt about the actions of our government attacking our wilderness. And to find most are either in favour of getting any economic benefit to be had from places they have never seen, or will see, or simply are not that concerned by something so far away from their lives. There are bigger fish to fry, our jobs, our mortgages, the economy, that we have all been sold the rubbish old Ed predicted. The pain of that cripples me as much as this hip.

The view from directly across the other side of the photo above, looking back at the Hikurangis and Mangaweka.
I have never claimed to be clever. I am not a highly achieved academic, I do not have a huge grasp of economic facts and figures, and I have little response to offer witty and self serving ripostes on media reporting and the ever growing world of the internet and political spectrum aligned blogs, particularly on the right. That is all beyond me, I have little knowledge of anyone even being here aside from comments left. Mostly what I do here is for me. To look upon these ranges I adore when I cannot physically be there, is pretty cool for me. And sad at the same time. My son Charlie the other night had me type Maropea Forks onto You Tube. What came up was a group of helicoptered in hunters in the roar of 2009. Most of the pictures were from inside the hut with the inhabitants in various stages of inebriation, the defining photo one of the hunters gathered on the porch when first dropped off with a person high stack of their trays of beer the focal point. It is not just from the government these places need protection. Helicopters!

A Ruahine water fall.

My point being I do not care about economics, about the political spectrum and clever posts and responses defending a political view, or even trying to convince those of disconnection to connection. What I care about are the Wild Places. And that is that.

Bugger the statistics about our economic future, and the shit about our human right to dominate the Earth. Even here I preach to the converted, convince myself more of what I already know. Out there with the aims of our own elected government, the absorbed words of the media, talk back radio, entrenched disconnection, and conversations in the tea room lie the real bastion of our demise.

A common quote that people refer to of Edward Abbey is "Wilderness needs no defense, only defenders", or there abouts, always rung somewhat to me as the first quote that came up on Wikipedia and sounded good. I always thought it a bit over done. Until now, when I feel it my gut and my trembling fingers.

John next to a Spaniard, a native plant with razor sharp needles and leaves and not to be trifled with. This was the first encounter we had with them at river level as normally we found them up high, mixed in with the leatherwood as another delightful treat on steep climbs.

A camp on the Waikamaka river after along day, a lot of rain and a flooded gorge. Eventually the rain stopped and the rivers and streams dropped as quickly as they rose, but a gorge just up from here stopped us. The water level was over our head and climbing over not a good option. We retreated to here, and it proved an excellent decision and a great spot.

John, the next morning in the crux of the gorge where the prior evening the water was at the top of the rock on the right. Hence the retreat to our river camp after a 10 hour plus day.

Above Rangi saddle on the way to Waterfall hut. We took a wrong route and did a seriously steep climb high above the saddle, only to discover it actually was far below us. The view across the valley made it a worthwhile mistake.

Waterfall hut

Aw shit, if you don't get it you don't get it. If these places and just the knowledge of them being there does not move you, then nothing here will. I can't come up with any clever arguments to change minds and sway people over from the Cement Jungle. It seems too entrenched, too set, and the disconnection from anything wild too complete. If we have already compromised 87% of our land and now need to attack the remaining 13% to get at it's "real" value it would seem to suggest that something is inherently wrong with the system. Yet the machine grinds on.

I believe in Nature in Wild Places, in the the Earth. If that does not suit so be it. Sides are being chosen and this is mine.

Dedicated to my Wild Sister Robin, "Naked in Eden".

Even in the midst of summer, a dive into the chilly embrace of the mountain river is a jolting experience. To have done it and then stand there tingling and refreshed as the mountain breeze evaporates the dripping pure water, is a reminder we are alive. Those of us whom have done it in winter are simply Polar Bears - hopefully with a hut nearby and the fire blazing!

Not many options here!

Shingle sliding is always an interesting way down. Very quick, but one wants to make sure the bottom terminates cleanly and not in large bluffs which would not be pleasant at speed.

"All very well, the reader thinks, for a few thousand farmers and ranchers who want to save their homes and livelihoods, to preserve a charming but no doubt outmoded way of life. And wouldn't it be nice if we could keep the air pure, the wide open spaces, the canyons, rivers, and mountains free from pollution from a rash of new power plants. But America needs the energy. Our political and industrial leaders assure us that the very survival of America as a great world power may be at stake. We cannot let our future be dictated by a cartel of Arab potentates. We have more coal than the Arabs have oil. Let's dig it! The assumption is that we must continue down the road of never ending economic expansion, toward an ever grosser gross national product, driven by the mania for Growth with a capital G that entails, among other things, a doubling of the nations energy production every ten years. "Expand or expire" is the essence of this attitude, exemplified in the words of President Ford in a statement to an Expo' 74 audience:

"Man is not built to vegetate or stagnate - we like to progress - zero growth environmental policies fly in the face of human nature." But a child can percieve that on our finite planet there must be, sooner or later, a limit to quantitative growth. Any high school math student can prove that if our production of electricity continued to grow at an expotential rate of 100 percent every 10 years the result would be, in less than a century, a United States of America in which every square foot of land surface was preempted by mines and power plants, leaving no room at all for homes, cities, farms, living space, or even grave yards. Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." - Edward Abbey , essay on The Second Rape of the West, cited from The Journey Home.

Shit Ed, we haven't come too far from 1974. In our modern age of sound byte living 1974 is like the stone age and few might give your words the modern credence they deserve, and yet are so fortelling. 35 years is not even a passing of gas in terms of Nature's time. Yet so many of us seem to grasp onto our brief time here as the be all and end all. Sometimes I think I am the more religious of all my God Fearing friends. Everytime I have been in the mountains, or even dream about them now, I am in Church.

The near end of a perfect day shared above. RTC Summer Tour day 3 from a camp on the Waikamaka river to Waterfall hut. A day of sun, cloud, rain, of rivers, streams, and high climbs with huge views of these mountains. Of friendship, route finding and a an empty hut in the mountains which we made our home for the next few days, as many other kindred spirits have. Days like this are why we need these places. Kia kaha!



Gustav said...

Nakedness is good.

Burn bright brother. The stars are with you.

Dave said...

My sympathies, Robb. It's almost impossible to convince people who are completely human-focused of the need for wild places -- I've almost given up on that too. And here in Pennsylvania, we are in the midst of selling our birthright for a mess of pottage, too. Our huge state forest system, the best state wildlands system in the country after New York, has been opened up for wholesale decimation and pollution by hydraulic fracturing for natural gas -- with the state's budget woes as an excuse. The liberal position is simply to impose an excise tax on the drillers and dedicate some of that money toward clean-up and "restoration." With friends like that, who needs enemies, eh?

Donald said...

Keep up the good work Robb.

Your posts are being read, and maybe we are the converted, but these are timely reminders to ponder the big pictures.

We do come into contact with all walks of life, and even the questions you've asked must in turn, plant the thought, that if you're thinking to ask these questions, then this may bring forth the thought "what is this wilderness he's asking about -why does it matter?"

The famous people you quote come from the past - they've made a difference. Now it's our turn to inspire, and bring these issues onto the radar of others. If they could do it then so can we! And indeed you are!

Have a good weekend and don't forget that sooner rather than later you'll be walking those special and spiritual places again, and this will further inspire us.



Mike said...

Hi Robb.

I really hope you're able to get out there again soon, and write about more experiences. It's always a treat reading new writings of yours.

One thing that makes me really worry, perhaps even beyond the mining threat, is our Conservation Minister's recent decision to investigate the advocacy role of her department. Apparently she's considering if it should be changed from a department of experts to a be-quiet-and-do-as-I-say department. (Actually to be fair she's said she's not sure, but she'd not have bothered at all if she weren't being heavily lobbied.) It's a concern, given how DOC's been set up to fundamentally to advocate for conservation values, and it's big enough to be able to speak with a lot of expertise on conservation issues. It's common to see DOC's conservation experts making submissions on all sorts of things tha affect parks and reserves, and its submissions carry a lot of weight. To some it'd seem strange or annoying to see one part of the government submitting against another part of the government, but what it tends to do is make sure a lot of useful well researched information gets out in the open for consideration, instead of everything just being one-sided from commercial lobbyists. I suppose some of the politicians in government have seen their own department disagreeing with them a little too frequently, and find it somewhat annoying. Hopefully the investigation will come back and say it's all fine, and nothing will change.

Gee, I don't know. Sometimes I take some solace in the fact that most of what we see here is just a blip in the Earth's lifetime anyway. A hundred, a thousand, ten thousand or a million years from now, people will most likely all be gone, probably extinct or otherwise moved away or gone back to living in caves or something. Maybe a super-volcano would have erupted and wiped everything out or a few unimaginably large tsunamis will have washed over the entire landscape (as happens from time to time), and nature will simply re-claim everything. I'd find it amazing to see how some of today's skyscraper cities will one day cope with the invasion of nature once they're no longer maintained, and perhaps be rediscovered. I doubt I'll ever see anything like it, but I can imagine.


kylie said...

hi robb,
your comments on talkback radio and tea room conversation are what grabbed me here (sorry to say that when you put so much effort into the rest :)
talkback and the tearoom are two "places" i often find totally disheartening. i no longer listen to talkback and i often walk out of the tearoom appalled. times like those i wonder why anybody cares about anything

rave on, you do talk to the converted but it's nice to see that someone out there has their priorities in order


lph said...


"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." I know this quote by Muir is one of his most repeated, but it is unfortunate how few people in power understand this wisdom.

Slowly we are killing ourselves. Slowly we are removing our most sacred places...all in the name of progress...all so that we can live a better life today, tomorrow be damned. But each time we remove a part of nature we move further away from our most basic human instincts. Personally I see no progress in insanity.

The fight is everywhere...thanks for reminding us!

Beautiful post my friend.


Joe McCarthy said...

Robb: Your heartfelt revelations of all the wilderness has to offer are inspiring.

I don't know if you've watched the PBS series The National Parks: America's Best Idea yet, but one of the many inspiring aspects of this Ken Burns series was how many of the victories achieved in the battles to establish and preserve the national parks in the U.S. were led by unsung heroes motivated by the kind of deep appreciation of nature that you evince so marvelously here on your blog. I highly recommend it.

I was thinking about you and your advocacy of the wilderness while listening to a National Public Radio segment last week on a proposed wind farm off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Seems that a broad coalition of groups are supporting the project, dubbed Cape Wind. The recent death of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, an opponent of the plan, has left the native Wampanoag tribe, "People of the First Light", as the lone voice in / for the wilderness, so to speak.

I don't know if any of the strategies or tactics taken by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound would be applicable to your advocacy aims in NZ, but I thought I'd mention it, in case it's of some help.

I wish you continued strength and fortitude as you rise to meet the challenges to your health and well being, internally and externally!

Allan Stellar said...

Wow! I loved this post...

Saint Ed was so right in his observations: Without Ed around, posts like this will have to carry the flame!

Time to take back the Earth from this insanity!



Ophelia Rising said...

Robb, there's no question that this fight is essential. It's all we have, this place, here - this earth. These forests. These mountains. These rivers, oceans. And the wilderness MUST be kept wild. There is no other choice, other than oblivion. So the fight is necessary, and real, and I believe in it and think (in the optimistic way that I have) that it can be achieved. That the good fight can be won. I can't think otherwise - because what's the alternative?

I'll tell you what the alternative is. Self-annihilation. And, like other commentators point out - insanity.

We NEED places like this, literally, as we need the air we breathe. Greed is causing our destruction. It has to stop somewhere.

I'm feeling your pain - I feel it, every day, in different ways. I hate the way the world is right now - hate how we've come to be so far away from the natural world. I hate that people have to take time to schedule nature into their lives - like it's just one more list item to do. Laundry. Meeting. Shop. Commune with nature. It's horrible. We're so far removed, it's disgusting.

"Soil is a resource, a living, breathing entity that, if treated properly, will maintain itself.
It's our lifeline for survival. When it has finally been depleted, the human population will disappear...Project your imagination into the soil below you next time you go into the garden. Think with compassion of the life that exists there. Think, the drama, the sexuality, the harvesting, the work that carries on ceaselessly. Think about the
meaning of being a steward for the earth."
- Marjorie Harris, In the Garden, 1995

Kia kaha!

Anonymous said...

"What I care about are the Wild Places. And that is that."

You say, and i agree, because more than money or cars or houses or profit potential, or retirement or 401k s or job titles or religious rites or stuff, stuff, is our experiance in the wild that means most to guys like us.

It's heartbreaking to think that physical ailments will keep us from the places we love, but worse indeed to think that policies of greed will destroy those place for our grandkids.

"Expand or expire" is the call of the cancer cell and too, our enemies!

From dear old Ed, a favorite quote:

"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself 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 is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. 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 your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound 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."

Ruahines said...

Kia ora brother,
We have bared our Naked Souls a few times in the mountains Gustav, and felt the chilly embrace of the Ruahine winter river. As cleansing as it gets as screams of joy echo about the narrow valley walls! I live now for those moments to be here again, and places to still enjoy such solitude and wildness. Kia kaha brother!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
Thank you for your supportive uplift and ass kick. Amongst the pain in my hip, my anger at this government, and being away fromn the mountains for so long I can get a bit grumpy, morose and maudlin. Plus that is just part of my nature out here anyway.
I hope it is true that the grass roots discussions I have with so many do plant seeds of thought, even if just in one person!
Right now as well, this is the only forum I can think of, aside from visits to othe such Like Minds, which keeps me in touch with the Wild Places.
Documenting my first trip back amongst those mountains will a huge pleasure! Kia kaha my friend.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Dave,
I am very sorry to read the state governments are attacking the wilderness there as well. I would have thought Obama might be better than that, but I guess he is in dire straits with other issues and any revenue streams are welcome. Unfortunately there a fewer and fewer streams left.
That which is destroyed cannot be "resored". How hard is that to understand?
Thanks Dave, always enjoy your visits.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
Hah! Love your thoughts mate! As ol' Ed himself wrote, the last thing standing will be the Earth. There was an interesting program I caught a while back on exactly that subject, man being gone from the planet and how it would revert back to Nature, with some excellent computer graphic work. I must admit cheering for tthe Earth.
As far as DOC, it is unfortunate that all their jobs are really beholden to the government of the day, and in terms of policy they enact rather than create. As a stakeholder in our conservation estate I would rather there be a slight seperation there, and having the people whomn are at the coal face get the real facts out to the public. National has put out a very clever political agenda, which in a political sense is to be admired, but as a person who loves wild places to be feared. It is simply divide and conquor. Put our concerns on taxes, gst, education, MMP, Super Cities, and there seems little concern for our conservation estat and mining, or almost as alarming over the past few weeks the ACT like attitude towards water in the south island.
On a seperate not I was stunned to read of all the basic mistakes in the new topo maps of the Ruahine. Some possibly real bad errors in calling poled routes tramping tracks, as in Sunrise to Top Maropea - on a good day an easy jaunt, on a bad one it could kill you - or routes now overgrown or missed altogether. Pretty shocking. I cut the article out of the Palmey paper. Have you seen it?

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kylie,
To be honest I think the tea rooms can be some of the scariest most racist and lowest common demoninator places in New Zealand, or anywhere. It is as if having a cup of tea and a biscuit makes us all one and therefore some of the most shocking things come out of peoples mouths. And taking a different view, as I usually seem to do, can make it a very lonely place.
Thank you Kylie, I am always glad to have you tuning into my talk back radio. Kia kaha.

Mike said...

Hi Robb.

Yes I read about the map thing on Stuff yesterday (lifted from the Manawatu Standard), and heard that tramping club guide being interviewed on Morning Report (National Radio) this morning. The radio interview is downloadable at any of these links (depending on which format you prefer), at least for a few days I think: [Windows Media Player], [MP3], [Ogg Vorbis].

I was surprised that a tramping club (or its chief guide) was commenting on this, because the 260 maps certainly had their share of errors with tracks, and I'm sure I've seen poled routes called tramping tracks in the past. Perhaps these are especially bad errors. Obviously incorrect map data is bad, but I also sort of think that it's an essential safety precaution in the outdoors to look at the obvious things happening in the environment, too, rather than just trusting a map blindly. If the map says there's a track but there isn't a track, then obviously the map's wrong so don't trust that part of it and go back to somewhere within your comfort zone as appropriate. I know there are people out there who simply don't act this way for some reason, and I don't know what to do about it because there are just so many little errors, but I thought there always had been, and there have always been people who get themselves into trouble because that's how they act.

From memory I think LINZ added in many older tracks (that'd been removed from more recent 260 map editions) after people asked for them, and perhaps this is what's caused the obvious recent problems.

Especially under trees, some of the tracks were probably even guessed by going to a local ranger who'd draw a squiggly line from memory. I didn't expect Topo50 to be much better given it's all based on the same data, but the technology's getting good enough for things to improve a lot in coming years. With their new systems, LINZ should be able to get new editions of maps out much more rapidly (260 maps only got new editions every 10-15 years), and if LINZ can figure out how to safely include voluntarily submitted data from people with know-how to get accurate data, the track data could get very good.

I think I'd be more concerned if the maps had significant landscape errors, but that's probably also because I don't expect much of the track data already. Anyway, I may go and write something on my blog about it. :)

Robin Easton said...

Oh my god!! Dear dear Robb, I've been here about 5 times and been reading this in snippets between work deadlines. This morning I pushed everything aside and give myself the beautifully rewarding treat of reading this from start to end (twice). My sweet wild brother, I just cried. This has to be THE MOST beautiful, honest, gutsy thing you've ever written. Genunine...YES!!!...all the way. I just was left feeling: if the boat goes down you can be in my raft ANY day. You are without question the most beautiful and passionate voice for the wild places I've ever heard. Old Ed would be SO SO proud of you. I have a friend who was friends with Ed during his "monkey wrench gang" time and the way he describes Ed is so like you. Only you have depth of emotional beauty that far exceeds Ed.

This line dropped my jaw: "So I try to put myself back in places like above, where my soul burst free and waves of amazement and euphoria washed through me and cleansed me of the grime and guilt accrued out here,..." WOW!!!!

AND this: "What I care about are the Wild Places. And that is that.
Bugger the statistics about our economic future, and the shit about our human right to dominate the Earth. Even here I preach to the converted,..." Yes dear Wild Brother, but I hunger for your words. They keep me sane more times than you know. They are like balm from a deeply kindred soul. Bluntly: I need them. Because I too live in a world that is so disconnected. Other than the Wild Herself, few reflect to me who I AM. You do with all your heart and soul.

AND this: "Sometimes I think I am the more religious of all my God Fearing friends. Everytime I have been in the mountains, or even dream about them now, I am in Church." Yes, you honestly speak what I feel everyday. Even "new-age" spirituality thinks that they can be whole without Nature. That they can be whole anywhere, that it's all in the mind, a matter of thought...maybe so, but for me dear Wild Brother, NOTHING makes me more whole, more spiritual, more aware, more in love, more alive, more Robin, than having my entire body, being, soul, heart sunk deep into Mother Earth, her arms wrapped all the way around me until I forget myself and remember Robin, remember who Robin REALLY is. To forget one's self and remember who I REALLY am in the presence of the Wild is the most spiritual experience I could EVER have. We as a species have forgotten that we ARE the Wild.

Your writing here is the BEST I've ever seen. It is real, honest, humble, blunt, profoundly passionate. It reflects your acute animal intelligence. You truly ARE the Wild, Robb. I adore the photo of you Naked in Eden. I just laughed and so related to it. I felt deeply honored that you honored me and Life, and being naked in Eden. It felt to damn right.

I so badly want more people to see you writing. There are young people STARVED for it. Young people who live on the fringe, even with their own peers they are outcast because they hunger for something other than tech. and "flash". They hunger. I wish we lived closer and I could help you put this in a book.

I am profoundly changed, healed and fortified reading your heart-words here. I am made more whole and I thank you with my being. Let me know how I can help. Aroha....always, my dear Wild Brother. It is an honor to know you. Amazing. Robin

Unknown said...

Kia ora Robb,

You inspire and support me, and I'm sure many others through this blog.

We will fight changes to schedule 4, and we will do it for the wild places.

Take care mate, find a little bit of beauty in nature every day.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora LPH,
No doubt mate, here in New Zealand we are surrounded by the drum beat of man demanding more and more progress, rather than heeding the more gentle, but volatile rhythms of the earth. And of course, it is quite easy to connect such thought to radical greens, or whacky leftists, to be easily marginalized by quick witted assholes. I wonder how such a gentle soul as Muir was able to withstand the no doubt wry smiles and winks he must have gotten in defending places such as Hetch Hetchy. No wonder he passed away when they went ahead and dammed it anyway. Abbey I can understand, as he had little time for emotional connection, rather in my view was happy with the surface, what was there in front of him. And a few stiff drinks.
The fight is every where indeed brother. Kia kaha.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Joe,
Thank, as always, for the visit and the wealth of information to follow up with. I am trying to formulate some sort of path with all this, but my own trappings into the very system I am growing to hate more and more keeps me grounded at times. The angst I felt in this post was really from just talking to people and finding out how much non concern is really out there. I can identify very strongly at times with the Wampanoag nation.
It just becomes clearer and clearer to me as all this brutalizing our earth continues to happen, that fighting it, perhaps as part of the systems strategy, is to keep all the various groups trying to fight fragmented, labled, and tucked away in various catagories. It may take serious rethinking of how these battles are being fought. Our profit for the shareholder outlook is killing the earth, and we are all shareholders of the earth, not just the wealthy, the technocrats, the corporations. There are so many disconnected people whom truly believe that our governments know best, that big business is progressive and good, and that somehow someway it is all sustainable. The will to not believe what is happening is palpable. One look at the disparity of wealth in the worlkd will tell us that, and tellus why it is the poorest countries of the earth whom have been denuded of natural wealth, of clean water and air, of the disparity of haves to haves nots. So the natural world is seemingly easy for governments and corporations to exploit and plunder, as so much attention is elsewhere in our lives. Fear for our jobs, insurances, mortgages, school fees, and any possible reduction of our lifestyles, makes nature appear pretty far down the list of concerns for the great many. So it may have to be brought to the surface in other ways.
Pardon the rant Joe, your words and links just get my ticking away. Rave on my friend. Kia kaha.

Tracey Axnick said...

Hello Robb - been a long time since I've been by for a visit. I hope you are well (despite the hip....)

Your writing continues to be beautiful and passionate.

You so remind me of John Muir, with his passionate pleas for the lands that would become our national parks here in the U.S.

Don't give up... don't your let your pasions run cold.

(I hope Tara and your boys are doing well, too... take care.)

-Tracey (Happy Wife Happy Life)

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Allan,
Well, indeed was a visionary. That becomes more aparent to me each day I get up and read some new insane action of our governments and corporations.
Maybe, for me, the answer lies in a vision like yours, and getting off the grid, away from the madness. I used to just throw some stuff in my pack and head into the mountains when I felt it all closing in, but my current physical state prevents. So the shit is sticking to my shoes. Kia kaha.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
Thank you my Wild Sister, for caring about the wild places, and about me. Kindred souls indeed.
I am sorry I have gone a bit silent from initial enthusiasm for this new project. I have just been trying really hard to reach people one on one, and the frustration at that combined with everything else happening grinds me down at times, and it seems hard to just get out of bed, much less focus on bringing attention to the Earth. I will get my shit together soon. We do have to keep fighting. Somehow, someway. For your beautiful children and for mine.
You rock Ophelia, and kia ora for your presence in my life. I almost wrote, it means more than you know, but that is wrong and even trite. You do know. May the mountain breeze blow gently upon you my sister. Rave on! Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora LC,
How is your knee brother? I think I wrote earlier that I am not sure if my growing rage is not really a combination of my anger at these technocrat bastards and my own physical inability to be where I need to be. I know now it is. I just want to sit by a mountain stream, maybe throw a line in and just sit and Be. A good friend, whom I guided in to get amongst some fine Ruahine brown and rainbow today sent me a beautiful reel, a closed faced cast reel which I used as a kid and have coveted for a long time. To rest my eyes upon it right now in this moment brings peace to my soul, and thoughts of the mountains and hunting trout. I don't even care if I catch fish, I just want another reason to be in the mountains. If I ever find someone patient enough to teach me the nuances of fly fishing to a left hander, well, that will be the next step.
I have always kept those words from Ed close to my heart brother, thank you for the reminder. In some ways we already have outlived the bastards, and in the end so will the Land. Rave on brother, my love to you, Adam, and your beautiful families. Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
Being as I left a long winded comment at your fine place in regards to the maps I won't go into it here.
Suffice to say, that for me, as much pleasure has gone into planning tramps and the thought of them, and making sure most possible situations have been accounted for. A map all on its own would never be enough comfort zone for me personally. Most of the places I go to are ones I return to again and again, for various reasons, but I would never dream of being unprepared, or on extended trips not making a few phone calls to find out what is what. Just writing those words down makes me aches for the mountains. Carry on Mike, yours is a place of great comfort and motivation for me in my current state. Happy tramping mate.

Stella said...

It's becoming the same in Switzerland too, my friend. These beautiful Alps I live in are now in the process of putting a damn casino up here. It's taking awhile, because most of the Swiss want to protect. But others just want money. I feel this--what you write--I feel it deeply.

Lynda Lehmann said...

Robb, I think this is perhaps your most passionate and heartfelt post that I have read. You have put it so well, and so did Edward Abbey, especially in his statement "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

Do you want to undertake a journey in which you preach to the un-converted, instead of those of us who read your blog and are already in accord? I wonder what venues you might seek. Perhaps like Robin, you might produce a book. Or a movie?

You don't know how much of your passion resonates with my own, Robb. I LIVE for the beauty and harmony of nature.

For years I was what people called "an antinuclear activist." To me, I was being just a concerned citizen, who wanted environmental protection as an end in its own right, but also as a product of justice, morality, government and corporate accountability, and simple logic!

We cannot go on this way. All of life on our beautiful (and tiny) planet, is at stake.

I share your heartbreak and dismay. The only way I know, to counteract my despair, is to continue to let nature be my solace and indeed, my religion and creed.

Keep on, Robb. We will someday reach critical mass and then we'll have a new beginning, or we'll explode (or maybe implode). Till then, I count on your voice.

As for your hip, I share your pain and dismay. I'm sitting here with two aching hips, due to arthritis. It's perhaps not as acute as your condition, but the pains are so prevalent in my body that I too, wonder how long I'll be able to immerse myself in nature--hiking, swimming, canoeing, and just BEING there!

We will endure, and we will still hope. Where there is life, there is hope.

Peace to you. And great affection.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Wild Sister,
Ah, you do my soul and heart good every time I read your words, both here and at your place. Your unabashed love and acceptance of all and the Earth is a gift. I have met only a few people capable of such honest abandon and Genuineness and I honour that in my life. I know I have written this to you before, but it is true and significant.
It becomes more and more apparent to me each day how much defenders of Wild Places and the Earth are needed. There is just so much disconnection out there it puts cramps in my gut, and tears just appear as I go about my day. Some might call that depression and it is. I am depressed at what we are doing to these places, and how easily convinced so many are that it is right to do so. Part of me wants to, if physically able, or when, to take young people still not wired into to the system, out into the mountains and show them what is there. The ridges and streams, the clear rivers and high golden tops, and just to have them Listen. To see even a few pairs of eyes come Alive and Dance with Delight at Nature's Gifts would make my life and my words worthwhile.
Thank you my dear friend and Wild Sister for caring about these mountains here, and Wild Places every where, and me. Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Stella,
You are living the life you should be my beautiful friend. I toast your courage and strength.
I just got off the phone with a fine and wonderful friend of mine, and Gustav's, who reminds me of you in some ways. He was telling me of all the places under attack in the states as well. Obama has bigger fish to fry, and as soon as the "economy" goes bad, big business comes up with "solutions". Doesn't that make people wonder? Rave on my friend, I love your journey.

Patry Francis said...

Keep sharing and defending your truth, Robb. It is a beautiful and necessary one. Even if your readers are the "converted," your words and experiences strengthen us.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lynda,
Thank you as always, for your encouragement and visits. I am learning more and more that I am not mainstream in so many views, but when it comes to nature and wild places I have no tolerance for interference by man. I do know you feel that as well, as do most whom visit here. But trying to get others to understand that can be very difficult. And frustrating, but I will keep trying. As to my hip, the sooner the better, as the inactivity it imposes upon me is just not fun. Kia kaha Lynda, you bring brightness and a smile to my face.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Tracey,
I just love that photo of the cloud at your place! Hope you don't mind that I used it, but it so well fit what is happening with our Wilderness here, and all over the world. The arrogance of man is sometimes overwhelming.
So good to read from you, and we are all well, as I hope you and your family are too.
Sometimes I may feel a bit like John Muir, a man of God, but I probably act more like Ed Abbey, a man of Earth and with many more faults than Muir. A comparison to either is a great compliment. Kia ora.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Stella,
Hello my friend. Yes the long reach of money and procurement is all around us, invading the world's most beautiful places simply to make it easier to take advantage of, and in reality, complete the disconnection well underway. This we must fight.
I hope your view of those mountains remains clear and fills your soul. Rave on! Kia kaha.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Patry,
I realize how true your words are when I return here and see the passion and love for the wilderness held by others. It does my soul good. Always good to read from you. Hope you are well. Kia kaha.

Mike said...

Hi Robb. I think the concept of "mainstream" is a myth propagated by people who want to justify their point of view with a broad statement that makes it sound as if everyone agrees with them, without actually providing evidence. It's flaky whenever you hear it used to justify something, because if people had evidence they'd be stating the evidence instead.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
Well stated. You just described Talk Back Radio.
Best wishes and thoughts for a great day.

KB said...

Funny - I've argued many times with my father, an economics scholar, about why his field believes that constant growth is necessary. I don't understand his arguments - really I literally don't understand them. I think that he understands the simplistic concept behind mine that we need zero growth to save the Earth but claims that the world economy would collapse. If even he and I can't reach some kind of agreement, a middle ground, how can we expect extreme right wingers who hate us environmentalists to somehow listen to us?

Just so you know, my dad is a very open-minded guy. He's terrified of the forest and the animals. But, as a present before my surgery, he looked at my lion videos and read my posts. He said that he could tell that nothing energized me and made me as happy as observing wild creatures. So, completely out love and ignoring his own fears, he bought me a new wildlife camera to help me pass the days of my surgery recovery.

My point mainly is that if *anyone* from the 'other side' is really trying to understand, it's my dad, and he still doesn't get it when it comes to the need to curb growth and leave wild places alone.

I hate to be so negative... but I truly don't know how to change anyone's mind. I feel that if they experienced what people like you and I do in the wilderness, they'd understand. But, perhaps not...

In the meantime, I'm glad that you managed a wonderful trip despite your hip and I hope that you can get it fixed soon, very soon.

Mike said...

Now there's a form of media (talkback radio) I gave up on bothering with a loooooong time ago. Actually I don't bother with much at all since I re-discovered National Radio. Maybe I'm out of touch.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
True enough my friend, usually I enjoy being outside the square, but on the issues of we treat the earth and wild places it saddens me to find so many happily within the box. As to talk back radio, you are absolutely correct. But as I drive around on my own for a large portion of my workday at times I cannot help but press that button. Maybe a form of self abasement or something, as I usually wind up driving about waving my arms and yelling at people who cannot hear me. Maybe I need to carry more cd's! Cheers Mike, and all the best with the upcoming nuptuals.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora KB,
I really love this comment, and I have come back to it a few times now, to read it and consider.
I have much the same relationship with my father in law, a man whom has welcomed me into his family and always made me feel welcome and part of things. I have even taken him tramping once or twice. He gets appalled when I go out alone for days at a time, just does not understand it all. And with the issues regarding wilderness, nature, politics and economics we just don't even go there. Don't talk about it, don't discuss it, the elephant in the room.
Sometimes I think a lot of people do not like, are afraid of, or need to believe in man's mastery over all, simply as they do not like uncertainty, or loss of control. And as you well know on your daily romps, there is a lot of stuff out there you have no control over, but it does not stop you. Indeed in ways it even stimulates us more.
I think a lot of this is the ever growing disconnection becoming entrenched. As Abbey would say, "look it doesn't matter if you even ever go there, just knowing wilderness is out there should mean something to us", but the disconnection grows and so it doesn't mean anything except some sort of abstract ancient dying impulse. Then the money changers move in.
It is heartening to read that your dad at least recognized that in you, his daughter, and instinctively knew it made you a better more whole person. Which has to be a good thing. Maybe no more is possible there, but as long as he knows what it means to you, there is at least awareness.
Maybe that is the best we can do at a grass roots level, to live within our values and be Genuine.
I wish I could write the photos above were from a recent trip, but alas they are not. It was a few years back, when the hip was not bothering me, ah the good old days! Right now KB I can hardly walk across the street much less in the mountains, but my surgery is less than a month away now, so stay tuned. Thank you for your continued inspiration and all my best thoughts for your continued recovery. Kia kaha KB.

Mike said...

Thanks, it went really well.

Have you considered radio that's not talkback? Kathryn Ryan ran a panel discussion this morning that included debate on the mining issues. (stream: windows media, or mp3)

Ruahines said...

Kia Ora Mike,
Point taken. I shall force my trembling fingers away from those buttons, and onto something better. Glad to read all went well.

Mike said...

Yeah. I guess I gave up on talkback radio when I realised that the tone is controlled completely by the hosts (who'll be quick to cut off or shout over any callers they don't like), and hosts are chosen for their inclination to create controversy and attract attention (therefore advertisers). It's not a useful forum for any sort of intelligent discussion and not worth my time.

The rehearsal was interesting, being scheduled on Friday at 4pm. We warned our wheelchair-bound marriage celebrant that a major storm was coming and that she'd need to get through things quickly, but despite starting in bright hot sunshine, 20 minutes in everything went dark in the space of a few minutes, the wind went from almost nothing to very strong within a few seconds, and we were very quickly wheeling her through the hail to shelter 300 metres away. It was a pretty cool experience, not just because it came exactly when it was predicted to within about 5 minutes (very unusual), and would've made the whole thing incredibly memorable if it'd happened a day later. It was always forecast to have passed over within a few hours and then be bright and sunny the next day, however, so things went much more normally.

Cheers. :)

Barbara Martin said...

Government and preserving nature do not always go hand in hand. The almighty dollar seems to keep its head up over any need to save our forests. There are large mining companies in northern Ontario that are spoiling the landscape and environment for future generations.

By focusing one's intentions upon making changes to protect our wilderness areas this helps the universe to assist us. This may sound strange but as a Reiki practitioner I believe that sending good thoughts and wishes out to the environment and wilderness does exceptional good where it counts the most.

Robb, your posts on the environment and the opposing forces of the government are interesting. I feel your pain over such issues, and by joining in on the protesting to the governments' plans takes us one step closer to saving our environment. Keeping positive thoughts toward a good end is paramount on the environment issues.