My Plan to Protect #OurWild

My Plan to Protect #OurWild

I want to go to 6 National Parks in 14 days. I don't know when I'll be able to make the trip, but I must do what I can to protect our lands. And what I can do as a professional writer and editor is share the narratives the NPS is no longer allowed to tell of the forces that threaten the preservation of the land. That is how I will fight. That is how I will protest. That is how I will protect our rights to ownership of the public lands of the United States set aside “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

Mammoth Fail in Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Fail in Mammoth Cave

“There were more red flags on the trail. I walked through hundreds of spider webs until the sticky strings covered my bare arms, stuck in my hair under my hat, and wove themselves into my eye lashes. Horse flies orbited around me, only landing to bite. Fallen trees covered the trail; the only path by was under, where my pack was caught and pulling it free meant smashing my shoulder into the trunk. My headlight failed just as it was getting too dark to see the trail clearly. I sunk in fresh mud up to my ankles.”

Loneliness Lesson in Appalachia

Loneliness Lesson in Appalachia

I tell the loneliness to pull up a seat. I notice she does not look so very threatening after all—she has a touch of the dowager about her, actually. She is clutching a handbag made of fat white beads, and she smells of rose water. We sit next to each other on my screen-porch, with its faded hibiscus fabric and fraying wicker. I lean back. I breathe. I ask her where she’s from, and she says over the mountain...I ask her what she has for me. She takes a letter opener from her bag and tells me she can kill me if she wants to.

–Lauren Winner, Still, 59

Home Base & The Scent of Money

Home Base & The Scent of Money

I lived the first 22 of my 25 years in the Great Plains and the last three I’ve spent at the longitude of the Ivy Leagues and the latitude of the Bible Belt—appropriate to my sojourn at Divinity School. My first fight with altitude sickness was at the age of 21 on Cloud Peak in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming. I remember it felt like my 21st birthday hangover plus the feeling that my head was a stress ball perpetually flattened by each tire of an infinite caravan of 18-wheelers.

Call of the Wild: Salvation & Displacement in the US National Parks

Call of the Wild: Salvation & Displacement in the US National Parks

I AM GOING to visit each of them. From Shenandoah to Yellowstone, Acadia to American Samoa: I am going to see them all. But I don’t just want to visit these ‘sacred places’ as a tourist whose only task is to observe or admire them for their aesthetic beauty.

I want to go into these places and feel the emptiness—not in search of salvation, but in search of what is lost. I want to listen for the echoes of memory. I want to learn stories and myths of history that breathe out of these places. I want to meet people who care for the land now—and people who long to care for it again. I want to empathize with the historically (and more recently) displaced people.