Tuesday, April 26, 2016

goodbye to the invisible elk

A final post from Banff - a cool drizzly morning. I just went for last quick walk in the woods, stepping over tons of elk and deer scat - but we saw no elk this weekend. Next time we should invite them specifically.

When Wade Davis was giving his seminar, however, outside the window I watched two white-tailed deer, nibbling on the grass until chased away by kids with cell-phone cameras. A wonderful sight. And a further word about Mr. Davis, who is without question admirably generous and passionate about all the right causes - except one. He launched into a diatribe about memoir - "the cult of narcissism, littering the world with your story." "You will find no self-reflction in my books," he said. "I will NEVER use the words 'I feel.'"

And I thought, here's a man who wants to save the world - at least, to save the biosphere. And wouldn't that be a lot easier and more manageable if there were more men in the world, a lot more men, willing and able to use the words 'I feel'?

Well, I feel mightily - that this has been an extraordinary adventure and now I'm ready to go home.



  1. We need all kinds of books -- memoir, natural history, urgent polemics about rivers and tar-sands, elegant literary essays, humour...Why on earth would anyone limit the genre to those books that are not self-reflective? That are forms of journalism, however sophisticated and illuminating? Many writers write from various perspectives, choosing one or the other (or many at once) when material and need conspire to ask that of them. And yes to feelings. Yes, yes, yes.

  2. I agree, Theresa. I felt that here was a man who's extremely sensitive to the natural world but perhaps not to some facets of his own heart.