Apr 14 2012

#350 “Great Debate”

From Vashti in London, England

Well, here we are together at post #350. It’s a pretty significant number. In honor the 350th WBS post, I wanted to present something special along with Vashti’s beautiful wolf. After some cursory Googling, I ran across an interesting story that I thought would fit perfectly. Actually, the story is a bit of a two-parter, and it just so happens to present a microcosm of the universal debate over this magnificent but very controversial animal. The first part of the story (from January of this year) details a plan to delist wolves in the state of Wisconsin by increasing their numbers to 35o. The second story is a later development of the first and was just presented just last month. It discusses a proposed wolf hunt in the very same state and focuses on the opposition presented by the Ojibwe Indians who are opposed to the hunt for religious reasons. There are many sides to the story and many individual issues to consider. 350 days after the official launch of wolvesbystrangers.com… Where do you stand?

Story 1: “Wydeven says 350 wolves a Wisconsin goal”

Story 2: “Before Wolves May Be Hunted, Science, Faith and Politics Clash”

Nov 20 2011

#204 “I Guess He’d Rather be in Arizona”

From a stranger in Phoenix, Arizona or somewhere in Alaska

The whole notion of politics has always been a bit foreign to me. What I don’t know about policies, laws, legislatures, etc. could fill a book. Well, in fact, it could probably fill several books. I have no idea what the Alaska State Legislature would have done on March 15, 2011 or why there was no session that day. I also have no idea who the artist behind this intriguing piece is or where he/she is from. Obviously, most would think that the artist is from Alaksa and that he/she is employed somewhere in the political realm there. This was my guess at first, too, but when I studied the postmarks on the envelope, I saw that this package was shipped out of Phoenix, Arizona, and not from Alaska. The whole incident is truly mysterious.

I have spent quite a bit of time wracking my brain over this enigmatic situation, and overall I have come to realize that I will probably never know for certain who is behind this simple illustration. But this ok. This doesn’t concern me greatly because in my pondering, I dreamt up a scenario that is probably more pleasing than the truth, and that is just fine by me. The details of the story are a bit hazy in my mind, but I can clearly see a young dreamer who had grown up in priveleged America until he simply decided he could take no more structure and decided to pack his bags and move to Alaska. He wanted to take his life into his own hands. He wanted to breathe fresh air and leave the smog and commercialism of the big cities behind. He said goodbye to his friends and family. He promised to write, and then in a very exciting but much tamer style than Christopher McCandless, this young and free-spirited idealist moved to Alaska. Once there he quickly found work at an outfitters shop or something similar, and for several years he was content to walk upon the state’s unbeaten paths and gaze upon the fine scenery that Alaska had to offer. All in all he was satisfied with the simple life that he had established for himself. He was truly living his dream…

Then slowly but surely, like a blemish rising to the surface of his skin, a subtle but unmistakable doubt began to creep into his mind. He couldn’t quite place its origins. He certainly didn’t want to return to the cities of his youth, but a voice whispered fiendishly in his ear that he was wasting his life, that he was cut out for something greater, something more than just floating along aimlessly from day to day. The young man began to become involved in his local community; he took on projects and became a bit of an activist. He was happy again for a time with his new ventures, and he accomplished much. But then one thing led to another: a hobby became a job, a job became a career, and then a career became a cage. The man looked around him one day to find that he had aged ten years and that the silk tie around his neck really did feel like a noose, no matter how cliche it sounded. The second time it took much more effort than the first, but ultimately he found the strength within himself to start afresh for the second time in his life. He traded the cold winds of Alaska for the still, dry heat of Arizona. He hoped that this time he would find lasting peace. And who knows? Perhaps he will… Perhaps he did…

But once again this is all romanticized conjecture. Pure fantasy. In the end, I’m not even sure why I came up with all of this, but I think that it may lead back to a special affinity that I had in my youth for John Denver (which was instilled in me by my father) and his focus on the seemingly inherent need within all of us to seek refuge and rejuvenation in nature. One song in particular seems to fit well with this whole story. It’s called “I Guess He’d Rather be in Colorado.” Take a listen and see what you think…