Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"^%$* city liven"

Today we wandered through mountain hemlock, trying to solve a wilderness mystery. Someone had cut open an old road to a pocket meadow. We examined the chainsaw cuts (illegal in wilderness) and speculated. Hunters? The ditch company? The cowboys, seeking a clear path to get a herd out of the woods? There were few clues.

Before embarking on the teeth-loosening drive home, I stopped at a CXT, for the uninitiated, a allegedly "sweet smelling toilet." Someone had scratched a message on the wall, an ardent if misspelled anthem: "(Expletive deleted) city liven".

I'm not a fan of graffiti, of those who merrily shoot up signs, steal directional markers, and emblazon their shallow thoughts on every surface. But this one struck a chord. Who was this person? Someone desperate to get out of the box they lived in, one small deck above the pavement the only concession to nature? Someone whose life had changed by coming to this place, who vowed never to go back? Someone who packed up his things and moved?

Just like the road, it remains a mystery, but the sentiment I can understand. Do I feel like I miss out? Sometimes. I wish we had a pool in my small town. I'd like some really good bread. A hiking club, so that I could have a stable of backpacking partners. A girlfriend for my really sweet neighbor. Better movies. A diversity of opinion beyond "Wolves Good" and "Wolves Bad."

But I'd never give up country "liven". Leaving doors unlocked. Walking safely alone at night and on the trails. Deer in my yard. Mountain goats on the peak. A hundred sparkly lakes just a few miles away. Fundraising benefits for people who need the help. The fact that wolves are here at all, that people hear them howl up in the backcountry.

&^%% city liven!

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