The Devil Rides an ATV

“The fat pink slobs who go roaring over the landscape in these over-sized over-priced over-advertised mechanical mastodons are people too lazy to walk, too ignorant to saddle a horse, too cheap and clumsy to paddle a canoe. Like cattle or sheep, they travel in herds, scared to death of going anywhere alone, and they leave their sign and spoor all over the back country: Coors beer cans, Styrofoam cups, plastic spoons, balls of Kleenex, wads of toilet paper, spent cartridge shells, crushed gopher snakes, smashed sagebrush, broken trees, dead chipmunks, wounded deer, eroded trails, bullet-riddled petroglyphs, spray-painted signatures, vandalized Indian ruins, fouled-up waterholes, polluted springs and smoldering campfires piled with incombustible tinfoil, filter tips, broken bottles. Etc.” — Edward Abbey

My TV viewing is occasionally spoiled by advertisements showing clowns in four-wheel-drive and all-terrain vehicles bounding across the landscape as though such people are the conquering heroes of the wilderness.

While I often wonder why people think ownership of a 4WD or ATV vehicle provides them with status, the ads imply that it does. I’ll praise the man who claims status from his vehicle when he tells me that he designed and built the thing from scratch.

Until then, what is it in the wilderness that needs to be conquered by a vehicle, especially when the thing one’s riding is destroying the place itself while drowning out the natural voices of the ecosystem? Off the road, the vehicle is generally a blemish, the kind the devil himself might ride with an innocent grin.

“Enjoy the great outdoors, folks,” he might exclaim as he wrecks the place, disturbs its natural songs, spoils the quiet, and steals the back country’s soul.


for the latest Jock Stewart satire, visit the Morning Satirical News, last updated July 31, 2009


What this blog is all about

A friend asked in a recent post on her MySpace blog “How Do You Define Success?”

Essentially, her answer was finding the freedom to be herself and to follow her dreams. The challenge for her–for many of us–was that while following our dreams requires a measure of security and financial well-being, if we spend too much time or stress establishing that, we may not ever get to our dreams.

My answer to her question was similar to hers. Success to me is doing what I’m here to do: making an inner journey and writing about it. This blog represents my random thoughts, and a lot of yours, about the challenges we face and about the things we see along the trail.

I’m influenced, as many of you can tell, by the work of such writers as Edward Abbey and Colin Fletcher and by the dedication of volunteers in such organisations as the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy. I’m also influenced by Jane Roberts’ “Seth Books,” by the writings of Carlos Castaneda and Caroline Myss.

As we walk the trail, we learn–as Carlos was taught–that our outer journey is a reflexion of our inner journey and, conversely, that if we are impeccable in what we do in the physical world, we will be more centered within.

For me, success is being on the path and experiencing what I find there and then putting those feelings into words on the page.

What about you?


P.S. As I look at this now (11/9/21), I think it’s still true. If I were writing this post today, I would probably include many of the authors that have influenced me, note the ongoing political polarization, and consider the impact of the pandemic. And yet, the trail remains the same.