Barry Lopez On Writing About Nature And The Nature Of Writing
I’ve become acutely aware of the political danger the country is in. The champions of material wealth, the acolytes of technology, and the religious extremists are so loud, so bellicose, so uncompromising. Who will rein them in? Who’s not afraid to criticize their notions of “progress”?
They breathe deeply and put their hot hands on me. I lie on their padded massage table, on their soft sheets. Light slants across the room and into the kitchen, illuminating the place where my seventeen-year-old dog lies on his bed, unable to move without human hands to hoist his hind end up, a human voice to encourage him on his journey into the leaf-covered yard.
I’ve spent many years repairing windmills with my father-in-law at his Four Mile Ranch. The mills pump water to the surface for cattle and sheep to drink. There are nineteen of these windmills on this broken patch of land, which looks west to the Bighorn Mountains and east to Powder River.
We tore across the back field, our heels digging into their sides. We pulled them up short and did somersaults off their backs, or handstands in the saddle. We turned on a dime. We jumped the coop, the wall, the ditch. We were fearless. It was the summer we smoked our first cigarettes, the summer you broke your arm. It was the last summer, the last one, before boys.