Wolves, Family & Coincidence
I traveled to Boulder, Colorado last week to attend the RangeNet 2003 Conference. It had originally been my intention to combine a bit of pleasure with business by visiting my "kid" sister at her cabin near Conifer, Colorado which is a little over thirty miles north of Boulder.
Those plans for visiting my sister, however, had been scrapped when she tragically succumbed to a recurrence of cancer on September 17, 2003.
Among her possessions there is a "painting" in blue charcoal of a wolf which she made several years ago, and which hung on the wall in my house during a couple of extended periods when she and my nephews lived with me. I liked (coveted?) that "blue wolf" very much.
Now, about the award.
During the Thursday evening RangeNet session immediately preceding Jim Baca's keynote address; John Marvel, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project, presented WWP's second annual "Edward Abbey Memorial Hooved Locust Award" to me. The award was accompanied by a painting of a wolf - a blue wolf!
In my emotion over the multiple coincidences (location, time, blue wolf), I fear that my acceptance focused on the painting to the exclusion of the award - which I prize greatly.
A copy of my follow-up to that acceptance is below.
Jon Marvel, Executive Director
Western Watersheds Project;
When you pulled out that BLUE wolf painting during your award presentation at the RangeNet 2003 Conference in Boulder, Colorado; it pretty much shifted me into a personal mode due to the tie to memories of my recently departed sister. I'm afraid that I sort of glossed over my appreciation for the actual "Edward Abbey Memorial Hooved Locust Award" in my enthusiasm for that painting.
Let me now belatedly convey some of the things that this award means to me:
1. About the only thing in my scheme of values that I would prize as much as an "Edward Abbey" award would be an "Aldo Leopold" award. While a strong contender, a "John Muir" award would probably be on the next level down. 'Nuff said?
2. The award represents final acceptance of me as an environmentalist! As you may recall from the first couple of Desert Conferences that I attended, conversations tended to shift focus or fade out anytime that I joined a group. Being a recently retired BLM Range Conservationist, folks just did not know what to make of me or if I could be trusted. I believe that the award pretty much puts any such lingering doubts to rest, even if they were remaining only in the perceptions of my own mind. This is very meaningful for me!
3. Since almost all of what the award credits me with involves the formation and facilitation of RangeNet.org - the network - I consider it as much of an award to that network as to me personally. The MEMBERS ARE RANGENET, and RangeNet is my baby. Praise for that baby makes me just slightly more proud than a strutting papa peacock!
4. As George Wuerthner received the first "Edward Abbey Memorial Hooved Locust Award" last year, how could I help but be flattered by being placed in such rare company? My hope is that we are able to accomplish our task of freeing the public lands from hooved locusts soon enough that the "Society of Edward Abbey Memorial Hooved Locust Award Recipients" does not grow to double digit membership!
Thank you oh so much!