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November 20, 2009


Everybody wants / A little piece of paradise / A house upon the hill / With a view of heaven

I agree with your sentiment totally. My dad died about 5 years ago at the ripe old age of 87. He lived a full life, had 5 children and now 12 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. He kicked the first field goal ever in Auburn Universitie's football stadium. I say all that to bring up this point. I'm 57 and I'm sad to admit that I really never thought about the legacy or message of my Dad's life until I was standing in the funeral home at his visitation. Sad isn't it. Well, I have done a lot of thinking about that since then and have realized that the most under valued asset in our society is the old; people especially, but the "message from the past" as well. We have become so "stuff" oriented, that we have forgotten the things that are truly of eternal value; relationships, wilderness, living simply. Well, maybe the current crisis may force us all back to that. I don't think that would be so bad.

I'm seeing the same thing almost everywhere I go. Last summer I was in Pinedale, WY, seeing once viable cattle ranches broken up into multi-million-dollar housing developments. The most amusing was an enormous log mansion built out in the middle of nowhere, not a tree in sight, sandwiched between two Wyoming Highway Department drift fences. Having grown up in Wyoming and being well-acquainted with its winters, I had a big laugh at that one!

My own area (NW Oregon) has grown exponentially, with apartments and fancy developments (3,000 square foot houses on tiny lots) going up everywhere. Now, though, I'm seeing every fifth or sixth house in my neighborhood listed for sale.

A year ago, a few days before my [former] bank was seized by the Feds and given away to an enormous multinational banking firm, I received the last of the at-least-weekly junk mails from the now-defunct bank advertising low, variable-rate mortgage loans with no down payment. I just wish I'd saved it as a historic document!

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RYAN JORDAN is the Founder and CEO of Backpacking Light, and a wilderness adventurer, speaker, writer, photographer, instructor, and guide. Learn more about Ryan and his services.
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Ryan also serves on the Board of Directors for the Continental Divide Trail Alliance and the Winter Wildlands Alliance, is an Eagle Scout, Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 676 of Bozeman, Mont., and the High Adventure Committee Chair for Montana BSA.

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