I am beginning this blog just before my 50th birthday. I don’t concern myself deeply with the mid-life anxieties of my sex and class. I’m not fretting about my health, my virility, my retirement, my legacy. I have no interest in sports cars, bucket lists, “getting right with God” or grandchildren (I don’t even have kids, and that’s just fine with me, too). But 50 is a nice round number and, coming up to it, I guess I’ve asked myself “what DO I really want to do with my life?”
These words or phrases come to mind : nature, wild things, wild places, the old ways, indigenous cultures, health of the planet, mankind’s relationship with place, mankind’s responsibility. These are subjects, nouns, ideas. The words remind me that I am interested in these things and, more significantly, that I love these things and care about them. But finding a way to have more satisfying relationships with each of these isn’t as easy to express.
I think this blog is one attempt to express it, and I expect it to take some time. Whatever writing and sharing I do here will be accompanied by real changes in my life in terms of place, work and community.
By the time anyone in our culture gets to 50, we’ve heard countless soundbites, slogans and platitudes. Social media exacerbates this as reading attention spans get reduced to abbreviations and truncated thought processes. As I enter into the blogosphere, my first goal is to publish only work (my own or that of others) that really tries to be “serious” in the sense that as we engage with difficult and complex issues, I want to be under no illusion that the way forward will be easy. I desire to face what’s really happening in the world and in our own lives, and I know that requires a great deal of humility as well as the ability to keep paying attention even as some very painful realities unfold before our eyes. Such work can be incredibly hard for humans who have been told for so long that it’s not their responsibility, that it’s alright to turn away. Well, I don’t want to turn away. Correspondingly, the goal for these blog entries is that they will be holistic, thoughtful and, frequently, challenging. I want to encourage all visitors to read what’s here in that same mind frame.
If I manage to hold true to what I see as a sane, responsible and moral life, I expect to be swimming (culturally) upstream until the end of my days. But difficulty can make for a good workout, a sharpening of the brain, a deeper sense of self and of humility, and a whole sea of new experiences and new friends. At your pleasure, reader, I invite you to join me.