In honor of Earth Day I wanted to share a little excerpt from Grizzlies on My Mind and Be Audacious. Though they are two vastly different books, they both tell the story of passion, commitment to a cause, the importance of uncovering purpose and meaning in our lives, all the while celebrating the power of place. Even in Be Audacious, thousands of words are dedicated to the mana (power) of our natural environment and wild landscapes.
The picture above was taken from a ridge-top on an extended backpacking trip with the one and only Nathan Varley (PhD Wolf Ecologist and dear friend who wrote the forward to GOMM). It’s one of the wildest places left in the lower 48, the heart of the Absaroka Mountains. This picture was taken on the first night of a trip we called the Hoodoo Equinox Storm. I tell the story of this truly epic trip in the last of twenty nine essays making up Grizzlies On My Mind.
“Such is the raw power of Yellowstone. While its natural wonders, wildlife, rivers, and biodiversity are most celebrated, I have to come to believe that Yellowstone’s great gift is its ability to inspire two-leggeds to uncover purpose, meaning and goodness in our lives…I believe the symbolism represented by the integrity of the Yellowstone Ecosystem extends far beyond its boundaries. If we can’t inspire a commitment to Yellowstone, I fear we won’t find the audacity to preserve the last of our world’s iconic wildlands. The fate of our wild world is intertwined with the fate of a wild Yellowstone.” Grizzlies On My Mind, Introduction
“Oceans, rivers, streams, and creeks teem with vivacity and pulse in a life-affirming rhythm capable of calming a restless spirit and quieting a racing mind. Thousands of words are dedicated to my love and reverence for water in my memoir, Grizzlies On My Mind; like author Norman Maclean, I am haunted by it. No other element has made a greater imprint on my life story than water—rivers, lakes, oceans. And as someone with this deep, burning love—combined with a porous mouth filter—I have no problem freely expressing my disdain for anything that impedes the free flow of life-giving fluid that makes our planet not only livable but soulful and spirited as well.” Be Audacious, Chapter Four: Embracing Criticism, Flowing Waters, Open Roads
For a wild world, may we keep rabble rousing, instigating, and forever be audacious guardians and defenders of what is bio-diverse and true. ~ Michael W. Leach