Jan 11 2012

#256 Less is More (11)

From Emily in Castaic, California

This piece is a little long, and probably shouldn’t fall under the “less is more” heading, but trust me… it’s worth reading.

“Thinking Like a Mountain” by Aldo Leopold

A deep chesty bawl echoes from rimrock to rimrock, rolls down the mountain, and fades into the far blackness of the night. It is an outburst of wild defiant sorrow, and of contempt for all the adversities of the world. Every living thing (and perhaps many a dead one as well) pays heed to that call. To the deer it is a reminder of the way of all flesh, to the pine a forecast of midnight scuffles and of blood upon the snow, to the coyote a promise of gleanings to come, to the cowman a threat of red ink at the bank, to the hunter a challenge of fang against bullet. Yet behind these obvious and immediate hopes and fears there lies a deeper meaning, known only to the mountain itself. Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf.

Those unable to decipher the hidden meaning know nevertheless that it is there, for it is felt in all wolf country, and distinguishes that country from all other land. It tingles in the spine of all who hear wolves by night, or who scan their tracks by day. Even without sight or sound of wolf, it is implicit in a hundred small events: the midnight whinny of a pack horse, the rattle of rolling rocks, the bound of a fleeing deer, the way shadows lie under the spruces. Only the ineducable tyro can fail to sense the presence or absence of wolves, or the fact that mountains have a secret opinion about them.

My own conviction on this score dates from the day I saw a wolf die. We were eating lunch on a high rimrock, at the foot of which a turbulent river elbowed its way. We saw what we thought was a doe fording the torrent, her breast awash in white water. When she climbed the bank toward us and shook out her tail, we realized our error: it was a wolf. A half-dozen others, evidently grown pups, sprang from the willows and all joined in a welcoming melee of wagging tails and playful maulings. What was literally a pile of wolves writhed and tumbled in the center of an open flat at the foot of our rimrock.

In those days we had never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf. In a second we were pumping lead into the pack, but with more excitement than accuracy: how to aim a steep downhill shot is always confusing. When our rifles were empty, the old wolf was down, and a pup was dragging a leg into impassable slide-rocks.

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.

Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn. Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God a new pruning shears, and forbidden Him all other exercise. In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers.

I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.

We all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life, and dullness. The deer strives with his supple legs, the cowman with trap and poison, the statesman with pen, the most of us with machines, votes, and dollars, but it all comes to the same thing: peace in our time. A measure of success in this is all well enough, and perhaps is a requisite to objective thinking, but too much safety seems to yield only danger in the long run. Perhaps this is behind Thoreau’s dictum: In wildness is the salvation of the world. Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf, long known among mountains, but seldom perceived among men.


Jan 10 2012

#255 Less is More (10)

From a stranger in Australia

Courtesy of 247wallstreet.com, here are the top ten time wasters of the average employee. For more information about how often people spend goofing off in the work place, click here. Hmmm… you’re not at work right now are you?

Top 10 workplace time-wasters.

1. Social Networking
2. Online Games
3. Personal Emails
4. Using Portals
5. Instant Messaging
6. Fantasy Football
7. Pornography
8. Videos/Movies
9. Random Online Searching
10. Online Shopping

m


Jan 9 2012

#254 Less is More (9)

From Hanne in Belgium

This wolf perched on top of a rock promontory reminds of something very Kipling-esque. Bearing this in mind, I hope you will enjoy “The Law of the Jungle” from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.
The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and get food of thine own.
Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle — the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.
And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair.
When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail.
When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war.
The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home,
Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come.
The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain,
The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again.
If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay,
Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away.
Ye may kill for yourselves, your mates, and your cubs as they need, ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man!
If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride;
Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide.
The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies;
And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies.
The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will;
But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill.
Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim
Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same.
Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim
One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same.
Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own:
He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone.
Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law.
Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!


Jan 8 2012

#253 Less is More (8)

From a stranger in Halifax, Canada

Please enjoy this selection from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
by T.S. Eliot

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous -
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.

 


Jan 7 2012

#252 Less is More (7)

From Dave (formerly in Las Vegas – currently in the California East Bay)
To see more of Dave’s work, visit his website here.

Two interesting quotes on tattoos. Which do you agree with?

 

“There is no “underground” community, no dark den of drunken sailors initiating themselves into manhood via cheap, ill-conceived exercises in bodily perforation; it’s just a group of people who delight in using their bodies as billboards”.

~Joanne McCubrey, “Walking Art: Tattoos,” Mountain Democrat Weekend magazine, 9 February 1990

 

“A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye.  As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.”

~V. Vale and Andrea Juno, Modern Primitives

 

g


Jan 6 2012

#251 Less is More (6)

From a stranger in reddit-land.

Pedobear is a meme that is meant to be humorous, but he does open the door for discussion about some very important issues. The facts below come courtesy of RAINN.org (RAINN = Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). Please know that I appreciate the comical aspects of the picture but that these statistics are offered with serious (and not sarcastic) intent.

44% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18.

Every 2 minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.

60% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.

15 out of 16 rapists never spend a day in jail.

Approx. 65% of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.

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Jan 5 2012

#250 Less is More (5)

From Jessie in Raleigh, North Carolina

This wolf’s ominously pictured jaws served as the inspiration for this post.

FACT: Immense power is concentrated in a wolf’s jaw. It has a crushing pressure of nearly 1,500 pound per square inch (compared with around 750 for a large dog). The jaws themselves are massive, bearing 42 teeth specialized for stabbing, shearing, and crunching bones. Their jaws also open farther than those of a dog.

v


Jan 4 2012

#249 Less is More (4)

 

From a stranger in North Carolina

I know this is the second Klosterman quotation in a row, but bear with me…

The Transformation Hypothetical:

Assume everything about your musical tastes was reversed overnight. Everything you once loved, you now hate; everything you once hated, you now love. For example, if your favorite band has always been R.E.M., they will suddenly sound awful to you; they will become the band you dislike the most. By the same token, if you’ve never been remotely interested in the work of Yes and Jethro Tull, those two groups will instantly seem fascinating. If you generally dislike jazz today, you’ll generally like jazz tomorrow. If you currently consider the first album by Veruca Salt to be slightly above average, you will abruptly find it to be slightly below average. Everything will become its opposite, but everything will remain in balance (and the rest of your personality will remain unchanged). So- in all likelihood- you won’t love music any less (or any more) than you do right now. There will still be artists you love and who make you happy; they will merely be all the artists you currently find unlistenable.

Now, I concede that this transformation would make you unhappy.
But explain why.

~ Chuck Klosterman (Chuck Klosterman IV)

b

 


Jan 3 2012

#248 Less is More (3)

From a stranger in Birmingham, Alabama

The Dress Code Hypothetical:

You work in an office performing a job you find satisfying (and which compensates you adequately). The company that employs you is suddenly purchased by an eccentric millionaire who plans to immediately raise each person’s salary by 5 percent and extend an extra week of vacation to all full-time employees.

However, this new owner intends to enforce a somewhat radical dress code: everyday, men will have to wear tuxedos, tails, and top hats (during the summer months, male employees will be allowed to wear gray three-piece suits on “casual Fridays”). Women must exclusively work in formal wear, preferably ball gowns or prom dresses. Each employee will be given an annual $500 stipend to purchase necessary garments, but that money can only be spent on work clothing.

The new regime starts in three months.

Do you seek employment elsewhere?

~ Chuck Klosterman (Chuck Klosterman IV)

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Jan 2 2012

#247 Less is More (2)

From Clare in Hertfordshire, England

“What is the single most important thing for a company? Is it the building? Is it the stock? Is it the turnover? It’s the people, investment in people. My proudest moment here wasn’t when I increased profits by 17%, or cut expenditure without losing a single member of staff. No. It was a young Greek guy, first job in the country, hardly spoke a word of English, but he came to me and he went ‘Mr. Brent, will you be the Godfather to my child?’ Didn’t happen in the end. We had to let him go, he was rubbish.
He was rubbish!”

~ David Brent  (The Office)


Jan 1 2012

#246 Less is More (1)

From ARW in San Diego, California

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections,
predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal.
Difficult standards for people to live up to.”

~ Alfred Montapert

1


Jan 1 2012

January: “Less is More”

In an effort to start this year in a fresh new way, January will officially be known as “Less is More Month.” The artwork that is displayed on wolvesbystrangers.com during January will be accompanied by only a short fact, quote, static, poem, aphorism, etc. I’m giving this a try just as a way to experiment with a new style of posting, and who knows? It may lead to other interesting experiments down the road. Also, in the name of trying to find just the right quote or saying to match up with each picture, be prepared for a “Caption Contest” or two along the way that will call upon you for participation.

Wishing you the best this year,

“J”