Friday, 10/26 Kaziranga
When I’m traveling, I so often wake long before first light, living a day life, so completely different than my normal night owl existence at home where I’m frequently up writing until 1 or 2 AM (and waking after many are already at work.) On either end of the day, it's quiet and allows time for reflection, a kind of silent focus that we only find in small corners of our too-connected, crazy electronic lives.
This morning I came across this quote when I checked my email on our satellite setup:
"Someone must speak for them. I do not see a delegation for the four footed. I see no seat for eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior, but we are after all a mere part of the Creation."
--Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
As we head to the park just past dawn, these words echo. In my life as a photographer, people and culture are my fascination. But as a writer and editor, being a voice for conservation and for the creatures we share the planet with has been my driving force. They all fascinate me—even the ones I’m wary of (OK, wary is weak: the things I’m seriously creeped out by or scared to death of) like stinging/biting bugs, poisonous snakes, scorpions—and leeches. So much of the world’s wildlife and wild places are in such dire straits: producing my first book last year, “State of the Wild 2006: A Portrait of Wildlife, Wildlands, and Oceans” was a long labor of love, and left me hugely depressed for months.
But I think of the poet Allen Ginsberg, who again and again layed down on the railroad tracks leading from Rocky Flats nuclear munitions plant. He was arrested numerous times, drawing attention both to the environmental impact of the plant on the pristine Rocky Mountain landscape and to his ardent anti-war stance—but as a Buddhist, he did so without attachment to outcome. He just needed to put right action out into the world. Adopting a similar attitude allows me to write on environmental issues without feeling like I want to slit my wrists.