From the vaults: The gift of words (10/03/2011)

The ability to express, in elegant prose, those sentiments which many of us might share but would struggle to adequately articulate; that is a precious talent. There are those sentences, sometimes longer passages, which simply require you to return to the opening words and read them again; and then, on future occasions, revisit the book or article and comb until they have been found afresh.

 
Barry Lopez, in his essay A short passage in northern Hokkaido*, wrote this: “So much of (it) seems to stand quiet at the edge of human endeavour. Nowhere here is the scale of human enterprise large. It meshes easily with the land” It seemed utterly pertinent to so many issues which concern apparently so few of us.
 
We have places like that, even within the confines of these small, crowded islands: standing quiet at the edge of human endeavour, the scale of human enterprise unobtrusive. But they are dwindling in number and the assault on those too few that remain seems to gather pace at an almost exponential rate.
 
I suspect that between that group, relatively small in number (but not so in terms of influence) who stand to accumulate wealth from systematic acquisition and development, and who care for little else, and those of us in the opposing corner, fighting what seems to be a perpetual rearguard action, there is an unknowing and unsuspecting majority, unaware of what is being done to their country, not necessarily in their name.
 
For my own part, grateful though I am for having had the opportunity to see so much of it before it was thoroughly ruined, I’d like to think there would be places for future generations to have their timestanding quietly at the edge.
 
* The essay in its entirety can be found, along with a host of other excellent pieces, in the collection:About this life: Journeys on the threshold of memory.
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