Ranger Kathryn's Arches

March 4, 2010

“Disturb us, Lord, when…”

Filed under: 1 — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:50 am
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Shafer overlook, Canyonlands NP

Disturb us, Lord, when

We are too well pleased with ourselves,

When our dreams have come true

Because we dreamed too little,

When we arrived safely

Because we sailed too close to shore.

-Sir Francis Drake, 1577


[Wikipedia sums up Drake’s life this way: English sea captainprivateernavigatorslaver, a renowned pirate, and  Elizabethan politician. He is, of course, most famous for his circumnavigation of the world (1577-1580) while he was only in his late 30s.]


As I looked around our training room yesterday, I was given much hope; I saw lots of mini-Drakes. The room was filled with dozens of individuals who want to be disturbed, who intend to be disturbed. There were folks who have spent their lives counting spotted owls in Olympic National Park, young people who will be Colorado River Rangers overseeing the protection of that resource while living five days at a time on the river, college grads who have moved into the most unexplored place in the lower 48 (The Maze district at Canyonlands NP) for an internship, jeep guides from Moab, bicycle tour operators who desire to be responsible resource managers. The NPS generously invites them all to their few-times-yearly training for new NPS staff, since they line up top-notch scientists and speakers to explain what a unique resource we have here.

My point today: It is only when we are disturbed that we really see beyond ourselves. It is not in living “safely” and comfortably and familiarly that we will _______ (fill in your own version of circumnavigating the globe).

Leave a comment: Do you sail too close to your shore? Why? What are your greatest fears if you ventured out?

It's hard to keep my feet on the ground...

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