“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning.” – Lyndon Banes Johnson
I heave a sigh, wondering what legacy is being left to my children. As I hike, and read, and experience a life away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and find my soul nourished by solitude, I fear for the generations to come. I see children unaccustomed to the wilderness, needing to bring their soccer ball into the visitor center to kick around while their parents get a map. I beg visitors to turn off their cell phones while hiking. I talk with vast numbers of folks who see nothing wrong with feeding wildlife. I shrug apologetically and say, “That’s a lot to expect from a wilderness park!” when they ask why there isn’t a coffee shop on site.
And then… then my hope is re-ignited. Children come in sporting a collection of Junior Ranger badges from all over the country. Visitors stamp their park passport books with delight, proud of having traveled to so many places. Backpackers brave the elements, carrying a pared-down version of their earthly necessities to a place where they can be surrounded by loveliness. Older folks endure a bit of chilly weather and an extra mile or two on their feet in order to see startling beauty.
All in a day in the life of a ranger in an obscure desert park somewhere in southeastern Utah.
Hope springs eternal.