Bush’s Brave New Wilderness

Moving one step closer to A Corporate Brave New World, the Bush administration is proposing that “corporate donors have more recognition for their financial contributions to national parks – in the form of naming rights, signage, and plaques bearing their logos according to an article entitled “America’s national parks: no longer ad-free zones?“

Imagine, before long you’ll be able to tour Yellowstone National Park and watch Old Faithful, brought to you by Viagra, or visit Coors’ Rocky Mountain National Park and get a Rocky Mountain High.

Of course, nothing quite that dramatic has been proposed yet, but according to a spokesman the park service is considering “nameplates for rooms inside visitors’ centers,? despite the fact that 74 percent of Americans “oppose corporate advertising on park brochures and vehicles, a Zogby International poll reported last fall.?

If you believe that advertising will end there, you probably don’t believe that schools are now making money by pushing Pepsi or Coca Cola to obese students , right?

I was upset when I learned that stadiums built largely with public funds were named after Banks or Insurance companies for a few shekels. Will there soon be no where left to escape the constant chatter of businesses determined to push us to consume more and more?

In a Dark Time

While I like the photos, the gentle side trips with grandchildren, I am drawn most to the original spirit of your blog, partly because I have personal history with Roethke. When he spoke with us in the 60s about his affliction, he never talked much about how he managed it, or about other poets who shared his dilemma. But there are plenty. I offer this comment in that spirit.

Roethke was not travelling solo when he wrote In a Dark Time.

He was mining a field where he found the footsteps of other poets and philosophers, from mystics like Boehme and Blake to more contemporary poets Yeats and Matthew Arnold and Wordsworth.

Written after several episodes of the manic-depressive illness that dogged him, and reflecting the influence of Freudian theory on the arts in America in the 40s & 50s, his poem celebrates the triumph of the spirit in a quest for wholeness.

Other poets walked that walk and talked that talk, too. Roethke knew a few, including Robert Lowell and John Berryman. He knew the powerful poems of Kunitz, and knew about the troubled lives of others like Delmore Schwartz and Hart Crane. He was also a mentor to James Wright and Richard Hugo, who had their own turn dancing with the devil (see esp. Hugo’s late “letters” to friends).

But here’s a Sexton piece:

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

and another by John Berryman:


The high ones die, die. They die. You look up and who’s there?
Easy, easy, Mr Bones. I is on your side.
I smell your grief.
I sent my grief away. I cannot care
forever. With them all align & again I died and cried, and I have to live.
Now there you exaggerate, Sah. We hafta die. That is our ‘pointed task. Love & die.
Yes; that makes sense.
But what makes sense between, then? What if I
roiling & babbling & braining, brood on why and
just sat on the fence?
I doubts you did or do. De choice is lost.
“It’s fool’s gold. But I go in for that. The boy & the bear
looked at each other. Man all is tossed
& lost with groin-wounds by the grand bulls, cat.
William Faulkner’s where?
(Frost being still around.)

Here’s a slapdash list of some poets/poems about dealing with dark times:

Hopkins (No Worst There Is None; I Wake & Feel the Fell of Dark Not Day; Thou Art Indeed Just, O Lord);
WB Yeats (A Coat;
Under Ben Bulben;
Crazy Jane poems)
Pablo Neruda (Sometimes I Get Tired of Being a ManWalking Around);
Stanley Kunitz (The Changes; > Portrait; King Salmon; Father & Son);
Robert Frost (Acquainted with the > Night; The Most of It);
Adrienne Rich (Diving into the Wreck);
Richard Eberhardt (I Wish I Could Live at the Pitch that is Near Madness)
Robert Lowell (
Man and Wife
; Memories of West Street and Lepke; other poems in Life Studies).
Richard Hugo
(Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg)

Mike Robinson

An American Mink

With Monday looking like the best day of the week and innumerable chores facing me the rest of the week, I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and head out to Nisqually Monday.

Wanting to get better pictures of the Great Horned Owl than I was able to get before, I took my monopod with the new swiveling head, and, with the cooperation of the sunshine, I was able to get the best pictures of the owl I’ve gotten so far:

Unfortunately, using the monopod also meant missing the best picture yet of an Otter because when one crossed the trail in front of me, I wasn’t able to get the camera set up before it disappeared, another lesson in the inevitable tradeoffs that life seems to demand. Despite our best efforts, we can’t seem to have everything, can we?

As if I hadn’t already learned that lesson, birding turned out to be rather routine, with nary a new species in sight, though the highlight of the day was capturing this shot of what I was told was an American Mink crossing the trail:

Amazingly, he came much closer than this, but he came so close that I couldn’t focus my 400mm telephoto lens and ended up with a blur of brown as he ran down the bank next to us.

After seeing this animal, I’m sure that the earlier animal I though might be long-tailed weasel wasn’t a mink, as a fellow traveler suggested, since this animal was two to three times bigger than the one I captured a shot of before.