Thursday, September 3, 2009

Silence is golden? Or is it dangerous?

So I was listening to the classic rock station the other day, and, as happens once or twice or six times an hour, the Eagles came on. This was one I hadn't heard in a while, and one I like more than many, both a '70s mainstay and a mountain-town mantra: "The Last Resort," with its prophetic refrain:

They call it paradise
I don't know why.
You call someplace paradise
kiss it goodbye.

That was true, back in the 70s, I think -- that you could, and should, hunker down and shush up about the still remote and un-marketed places scattered around rapidly growing country, and world. I think that was mostly a good strategy.


Hell, I don't know. Back then I was working in Boston (the one in Massachusetts, as Don Henley might sing ...) and found out that if you call someplace a center of industry, you can kiss it goodbye as well. (The called it the Massachusetts Miracle, actually, and it consumed the rural New England village life and countryside in a broad swath of suburban/pavement/industrial devastation around the Boston area.)

I wasn't out here in the relatively wild and fully wonderful West. Yet. And when I finally came, I stayed. I'd found my personal paradise. And I, of course, wasn't going to leave.

And I, of course, wasn't alone.

The West was, is, always has been and always will be lots of people's Paradise. How can you blame'em? I don't blame myself for staking a claim on and making a life in the place I consider the closest I am likely to get to paradise in this here life-cycle go-around. For myself, anyway.

And for others as well.

But for whom?

Now there's a hard question. And here's another: Call some place paradise, does it have to therefore be kissed goodbye?

And in our 21st-century 7-billion-strong Google-Earthed world, does calling someplace paradise perhaps actually help keep it from being kissed goodbye?

I think maybe so. I think we need today more advocates to go along with the activists fighting for our paradises. More people who know places and can articulate why they should be kept and protected and cared for, more people on the ground in places, seeing, looking, listening, like lovers watching over their beloved.

As the Eagles also sing:

There is no more new frontier.
We have got to make it here.

I think we need more people actually making a living somewhere they love -- and living in a way that doesn't devour their beloved place.

And more speaking speaking from that place, and those lives.

We can't afford to only fight against any more. We must fight for things. And to do that, we have to stand up and argue for paradise.


What do you think?


Editor Will Sands takes a look at the same question on last week's editorial in the Durango Telegraph. Read his take on the matter here.

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