End of the trail
Reading A Walk in the Woods (Bill Bryson), I’m saddened when I realise that not only will I never know the North American forest as it once was, but I never had the opportunity, even when I was a child; it was already being spoilt by imported insects and fungus and the American dream of commercial property on every acre. I wonder when we as individuals began to think our 70–80 years of life on Earth is more important than millions of years of growth and beauty. Bryson says there is no more American chestnut, then discusses the other trees that are fading fast. The view from Shenandoah National Park is murky with pollution (something I have seen). More and more people are making demands on this tiny strip of dying wonder. And they bring everything to it that they have at home — RVs full of conveniences, televisions, stereos, computers, whatnot. Is that necessary? Why? What is so frightening about self-reliance? What is so terrifying about peace and introspection?
I remember what it was like to be in the woods alone at night, one with God and a starry universe and a unique feeling of magic.
I fear never capturing that feeling again.
Worse, I fear that fewer and fewer people will understand that feeling until there is no one left who does.
That malls and parking lots will be the only magic left.
I hope I am long dead by then.
Or maybe it is too late.
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