• June came in glorious here in the Sisters Country. Marilyn and I got out on a bluebird day on Saturday, June 2. With the snow all melted off, we got a good look at the damage last summer’s Milli Fire did to Black Crater — my sacred mountain. Hammered.
• They’re doing some logging out in the woods back of Crossroads. This is good to see. The woods are overstocked and some selective logging is good for the forest and good for the folks doing the work. The trees being cut are small — it’s not for timber. I suspect it will be chipped for biomass and for plywood.
Driving through the woods Marilyn and I got to talking about a paradox that’s hard for folks to grasp: If we want healthy “wild,” the only way we can get there is through intensive management. It’s true of forests, and it’s true of wildlife.
I was reading Blood Ivory: The Massacre of the African Elephant the other night and highlighted a passage from the introduction:
In an increasingly man-modified world, the management of our wildlife is going to be more and more important if we wish to keep it. The real challenge lies in how we keep and manage elephants in the wild.
Elephants don’t live harmoniously in their environment. They are massively destructive and will quickly eat themselves out of house and home. When they had vast territories to roam, that wasn’t a problem — they could just move on, allowing the land to recover naturally from the destruction they had wrought.
The natural cycling of vegetation and elephants may not now be possible for most if not all elephant populations as they are now in fragmented populations in often disrupted habitats, and there are few or no new areas for them to move into should they exhaust their food supply.
The necessary management tools include sport hunting — which is anathema to animal rights advocates. They’ll sacrifice the species rather than see some of them killed for “sport.” And there are still “environmentalist” outfits who think that logging is destructive — period. They’re wrong. We’ve got to cut down some trees to save the forest. Actually, quite a lot of them. We’re not talking about a return to clear cutting and high-grading the big trees — but intensive forest management, including logging and prescribed fire is essential if we want to keep ’em.
The paradox — intensive management to keep it wild. Or some semblance thereof. The Southern Africa paradigm.
• We came upon some asshole’s camping/drinking/shooting spot out in the woods. Remains of a fire, piles of 12 ga.; .45ACP; .223; .38 Special; .22lr. Beer bottles and cigarette butts. Drove out there Sunday morning to clean up. This kind of thing dishonors the whole shooting community, and in a growing population — with many newcomers who hate guns and the people who use them — it will spark agitation for shutting down shooting across the forest. We just lost one spot due to a combination of pearl clutching on one side and stupid behavior on the other. Our District Ranger told me last week that, “We have to manage to the lowest common denominator.”
Pretty sick of taking the hit for slob jackwagons and maladjusted wankers.
• After our hike, we went and saw The Rider. I have little to add to Ceili’s piece on the movie. Go see it. Be prepared to be emotionally wrecked.
• On June 15, Sweet Country hits our hometown theater — at long last. Felonious Monk originally scouted this film out. It’s drawn very good notices. Set in the Australian Outback in the 1920s, it casts a light on a frontier history every bit as dark and racially fraught as our own.
• Don’t suppose this will hit theaters in the U.S., but perhaps we’ll get it on Netflix or DVD.
1981 – RECCE, Henk Viljoen, is wrongfully declared KIA behind enemy lines. Abandoned by his superiors; it’s a race for survival in which his mental and physical abilities are pushed to their limits, as he navigates his way through the treacherous Angolan war zone in an effort to make his way home to his loved ones.
South Africa’s war in Angola was one nasty piece of business. By all accounts, the South African Special Forces and particularly the storied 32 Battalion were annealed in that furnace and turned into some of the best bush fighters in history.
• “We’re the Sisters Brothers. We’re good at what we do.”
My buddy Jack McGowan loved the novel The Sisters Brothers when it hit shelves in 2011. I haven’t read it, despite his urging, though I oughta.
The darkly comic, Western-inspired story takes place in Oregon and California in 1851. The narrator, Eli Sisters, and his brother Charlie Sisters are assassins that are sent to kill Hermann Kermit Warm, an ingenious and likable man, who is accused of stealing from the Sisters’ fearsome boss, the Commodore. The series of adventures depicted resemble the narrative form of a picaresque novel, and the chapters are, according to one review, “slightly sketched-in, dangerously close to a film treatment.”
Well, the treatment must have been a good un, ’cause the movie done got made. Coming soon.
• Speaking of movies, there’s a remake of Papillon on the way. It’s probably unnecessary, and maybe not even a good idea to remake a classic like Papillon, but I’m all in.
• Stumbled upon an intriguing notice for a novel titled The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War.
A great war, a great love, and the mythology that unites them; The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War is a lyrical adaptation of a beloved classic.
Set against the shattering events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, at the tale’s heart are an American schoolteacher—dynamic and imaginative—and an Irish musician, homeless and hated—who have survived bloodshed, poverty, and sickness to be thrown together in an English village. Together they quietly hide from the world in a small cottage.
Too soon, reality shatters their serenity, and they must face the parochial community. Unknown to all, a legend is in the making—one that will speak of courage and resilience amidst the forces that brought the couple together even as outside forces threaten to tear them apart.
I have been wrapped up in the Great War era for some time now, and getting deeper. It’s an extraordinarily rich field of study, with a great many Frontier Partisan resonances, despite (and in some ways because of) its modernity. I am intrigued by the idea of a “fairy tale of the Great War” because one of the things I find so fascinating about the era is its “weirdness.” As John Maddox Roberts observed, the world went mad in 1914. Whence came the madness?
The era lends itself to fantastical treatments — which gives me an excuse to post more Jakub Różalski…