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Near as I can figure, I am the most fortunate bloke to ever tumble into humanity’s great stream. Consider: I live on the edge of the largest, contiguous, bear-blessed, wolverine-wandered, crane-graced, salmon-saturated stretch of wild land left on the planet. I could, with enough grit and a big enough back pack, step from my door and ramble and wallow through some 30 million acres without encountering so much as a cigarette butt, much less a human butt. I could (and sometimes do) board a little air taxi and trust that prop to buzz, nonstop, through mountain passes to the capital city where I can get my tooth ache fixed. A wooly teeming landscape and Novocain – I got it all going on, the best of the Pleistocene alongside the best of modern living.
Over the years, watching the Industrial Revolution revolutionize yet another patch of wildness, I’ve worked hard to keep my despair in check. I am happy to report the effort is paying off. Not that I don’t get bummed by our seemingly endless ability to keep making the same mistakes, but I have learned to balance the bummedness with increasingly long bouts of celebration, and wonder, and (when I am most lucky) pure joy. Faith of Cranes is the book I wrote about this work and this joy.