Tag Archives: Joseph Wood Krutch

Hope! The Simpleton and Common sense.

The following article, written over a half century ago, I recently stumbled across and for myself it was one that I could not let go of. I read and re-read several times, each leaving me with new visions of what was and what is, of what I hope to be and what I hope I am.  I researched, found, and got permission to post this article here to share with you. I hope that you will take the time to read in it’s entirety and your thoughts good or bad will enjoy it as much as I and share with others.

The Geography of Hope:

Hope Baja“It is a lovely and terrible wilderness, such a wilderness as Christ and the prophets went out into; harshly and beautifully colored, broken and worn until its bones are exposed, its great sky without a smudge or taint from the Technocracy…. Save a piece of country like that intact, and it does not matter in the slightest that only a few people every year will go into it. That is precisely its value…. We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope”:

The geography of hope, as Wallace Stegner has described it, is a rapidly diminishing resource on the American continent in an age in which hope itself becomes increasingly scarce. In one of its most recent “Exhibit Format” publications, the Sierra Club of California has produced a stunning memorial to one of the few lands left whose harshness, isolation, and beauty remains biblical amid the clutter of the twentieth century; the long peninsula of Baja California. With a pungent, reflective text compiled from the works of naturalist-philosopher Joseph Wood Krutch, and the artistry of Eliot Porter’s camera, Baja California and the Geography of Hope is a monument to a land not yet altered to man’s purposes.

hope bajaThe  discovery of America meant different things to different people. To some it meant only gold and the possibility of other plunder. To others less mean-spirited it meant a wilderness which might in time become another Europe. But there were also not a few whose imaginations were most profoundly stirred by what it was rather than by what it might become.

The wilderness and the idea of the wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit. Here, as many realized, had been miraculously preserved until the time when civilization could appreciate it, the richness and variety of a natural world which had disappeared unnoticed and little by little from Europe. America was a dream of something long past which had suddenly become a reality. It was what Thoreau called the great “poem” before many of its fairest pages had been ripped out and thrown away. The desire to experience that reality rather than to destroy it drew to our shores some the  best who have ever come to them. Continue reading Hope! The Simpleton and Common sense.