Monday, April 28, 2014

Celebrating Edward Abbey ... and lots of things

Heaven is home. Utopia is here. Nirvana is now. 
                                                           -- Edward Abbey

The Abbey Party was quite memorable this year, and not just because it was the 25th annual. If not for the fact that our tribe of river rats and ski bums were celebrating a quarter century of celebrating the passing of Edward Abbey, then it was memorable for the snow. And the graupel. And the sleet. And the cold.

Given those inclement conditions, our usual turnout for this year's Abbey Party (tagline: "A friendly, festive gather at which traditional social niceties are dispensed with, and the stated purpose is a philosophical and garrulous drunk.") was only fraction of the usual contingent looking to get together to bid adieu to winter and say "let's do!" to the coming summer -- which, of course, is what the annual Abbey Party is really about.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The new extraterrestial Earth Day photo

Legend says it was the image the launched the modern environmental movement -- moving groups beyond just saving pieces of land, and merging into one loosely affiliated mass working toward a global change.

Dubbed "Earthrise," the photo of the planet Earth bubbling up above the curved surface of the Moon was taken by NASA astronaut William Anders in 1968, aboard Apollo 8, the first manned spacecraft to orbit the Moon, in preparation for the first lunar landing, by Apollo 11.

Renowned landscape photographer Galen Rowell called it "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken." Because for the first time, it encapsulated the State of the Earth: A small, single fragile oasis in an apparently otherwise barren solar system -- offering viewers that "Spaceship Earth" realization moment. And it's the power of its simple, clear messaging that is credited with waking a lot of people to that reality: This is It. This is all we have to work with. Let's not fuck it up. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A guide to home

Among my many odd employments endeavoring to make a living here in our lovely little corner of the Earth, I was, for a brief while, an "in-country guide" for an expeditionary and service-learning educational program. Once a year I would work with a teacher from a private school in San Francisco organizing and leading a group of 8th graders on a week-long foray around the Four Corners, visiting and doing service work with government agencies and nearby Indian tribes.

For the school, this venture was a sort a rite-of-passage for these high-school-bound middle-school graduates. I, myself, saw it as work. But I also know that, over a period of years, this annual expedition became my own yearly rite of rekindling. Rite of what? Rite of Rekindling ... Wright.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lovin' that ocean! (My way ... )

We just spent a week at the ocean -- trading the great landscape of The Rockies for another: The Pacific
And it was particularly great because this was a week of camping on the ocean's edge -- meaning, good friends in the out-of-doors, in the thick sea-level salt air, with the surf right there, like a pulsing, breathing presence -- albeit a hundred feet or so down at the bottom of a cliff -- for 24 hours a day for our whole break.

It was like a big river trip ... or, more like a five-day layover day on a river trip.