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Redneck For Wilderness

Earth First! Cofounder Dave Foreman On Being A True Conservative

I think that civilization and real wilderness can coexist in North America and elsewhere, but we’ve got to allow room for wilderness and wild creatures. A favorite word of mine is wildeor, which goes back to the time of Beowulf and the origins of the English language. It means the “self-willed beast.” From the very beginning, civilization has tried to domesticate the beasts, and if we can’t domesticate them, then we destroy them. We’ve got to allow land to be wilderness, which means, in Old English, “self-willed land.” Letting some things have a will of their own, not trying to control everything — that is the challenge.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Steeplechase

Evenings, the boardwalk was crowded with refugees from the hot city. Neon blazed, and loud music exploded from every arcade. The aroma of hot dogs, hamburgers, beer, and knishes mingled with the salt-scented breeze. It was the first time I’d known the expansive luxury of the open sky curving to the horizon.

Over The Garden Fence

When I walk into my backyard, I hear my neighbor in her garden and smell the smoke from her cigarette. I stay close to my house, where I’m hidden from view by the overgrown laurel hedge. I was intending to weed my own garden, near the low wire fence where our dogs poke their noses at each other and over which my neighbor and I used to talk about flowers. But I don’t want to risk exposing myself.

Still Here

My wife China, my son Ben, and I left for the hospital at five in the morning, crossing the bay on the Golden Gate Bridge. The streets of San Francisco were still gray and quiet when we parked, but the hospital halls were alive with activity. An admittance clerk questioned me about insurance, then fitted me with an ID bracelet and ushered us into a partitioned area where a gurney waited.

Fiction

God Is Dead

Disguised as a young Dinka woman, God came at dusk to a refugee camp in the North Darfur region of Sudan. He wore a flimsy green cotton dress, battered leather sandals, hoop earrings, and a length of black-and-white beads around his neck. Over his shoulder he carried a cloth sack which held a second dress, a bag of sorghum, and a plastic cup.

The Friend Beside The Pool

Prince Siddhartha Gautama had seen the cat many times, though it was cunningly concealed under the overhanging leaves at the edge of the palace-garden pool. The cat was white, and so not quite as well hidden as it probably thought it was, despite the long shadows of morning.

Readers Write

Tests

Polished ivory chopsticks, a dog named Ranger, a jar of pickles

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

It is horrifying that we have to fight our government to save the environment.

Ansel Adams

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