Outside magazine, May 2001
God's Green Earth
BRUCE BARCOTT HAS floored me again ("For God So Loved the World"). When I read his feature about the green preacher Peter Illyn and the burgeoning Christian environmental movement, I found myself actually believing in a future other than a planet paved in mini-malls and
subdivisions, smokestacks bellowing around the periphery. I actually started going to church again with the assurance of environmentally rational prayers for God's green earth and its flora and fauna...finally! Peter Illyn is an inspiration. Bruce Barcott delivers. I say, God bless 'em both.
Gig Harbor, Washington
ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE warned that when religion encroaches on government's territory, it necessarily brings itself down to the level of earthly matters, policies that change with generations or even more often. Thus, while I applaud the efforts of these enviro-religious groups, they are only exposing their faith to tests that they cannot win. Religion's
purview is value systems, the choices we make, and answering questions about why, not how.
WHILE SATAN TEARS nature apart with our help, it is our responsibility to choose to maintain and repair it according to the standards of God's original plan, not our plan. What is needed are Christians who stand up for creation regardless of what other factions may say. Halfway measures and continual wrangling are wrong, and it's especially sad when
so-called leaders in the environmental cause are concerned with floating their statement's draft before the people "to gauge the public and political reaction." How about just standing for the truth because the Bible says so? It is so easy to damage God's creation, and so very, very hard to fix it.
Let Me Count The Ways
IT IS PUZZLING THAT you people in magazineland continue to be so awed by the number of words in the Inuit language for "snow" (The Wild File, February). I've been talking to skiers and riders for over 35 years now, and I've found English to contain a rich variety of words and
phrases that describe snow, including your own contribution, "grabby molasses." My starting list of 70, in alphabetical order: 2 percent, bottomless, breakable crust, buffed out, carvy, cascade cement, champagne, chicken heads, chop, cold smoke, corduroy, corn, corn slush, cream deluxe, cream de mint, crippler crust, crud, dank fluffies, death corn, death
crust, death glaze, dust on crust, dust on death, dust on glaze, fluff, frozen pleasure crystals, funky death slab, glazed, gloop, goose downy, granular, groomed, gropple, hoarfrost, hollow, ice cube, man-made, orgasmic deep, packed powder, pleasure pocket, pooder, powder, pow pow, rain crust, scoured, Sierra cement, silky, slide for life, slush, snow
cookies, snow snakey, Styrofoam, sugary, sun crust, talus pow pow, tracked out, uncut, untracked, virgin corduroy, virgin pow, wet cement, white smoke, wind butter, wind crust, wind deposit, wind groomed, wind loaded, wind pack, wind ripple, and wind slab.
Talk the Walk
THANKS FOR YOUR article on the ten classic treks ("Walks on the Wild Side," March). I just returned from the Paine Circuit, a nine-day trek through Chile's Torres del Paine National Park. To say this place is spectacular is an understatement. The
beauty and serenity of the park are amazing. With your list, I now have nine additional destinations to explore!
Stop Making Sense
YOUR ARTICLE ON bear attacks ("'You Are in Bear Country,'" Dispatches, March) reminded me of a good piece of advice I once got. After being pursued by a grizzly bear across the Toklat River in Denali National Park, I returned home and told the story to my girlfriend's father,
an experienced Alaskan hunter. His comment was this: "If you know what the bear is going to do, then you know more than the bear does."
The February issue's Wild File column identified the world's oldest living tree as a 7,000-year-old redwood in California's Prairie Creek State Park. In fact, that honor belongs to a bristlecone pine called Methuselah in the White Mountains of California, thought to be 4,767 years old. (And if you want to count shrubs, there are Mojave Desert creosote bushes that could be 10,000.) We regret the error.
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