Lighter Side
June 15th, 1998
MORE Excerpts from The River Home

by Jerry Dennis

Outside it's easy to abandon every convention and prejudice and get down to the messy business of being an animal, alive.  When you're rooting around in the water or the woods, miles from the nearest strip mall and office complex, nobody is likely to judge you by your clothing or your skin color or your political orientation, and if they do you don't give a damn anyway.  Fishing -- or hunting or photographing birds or cutting firewood -- frees you of such nonsense.  If you want society, convention, comfort, and safety, stay home.  If you want your life to be a joyous romp, get outside.

(From "Eight Days of Hendricksons")

BDrifting downstream that afternoon, I realized that there's a big difference between hearing and listening.  Hearing is passive; listening is active.  We hear traffic and airport noise and the shouting loudspeakers in a department store.  We listen to laughing children and hooting doves, to leaves rustling in wind-stirred aspens, to trout sipping mayflies in a river.  In these noisy times the thousand subtle voices of a river can throw a calm over our lives.  I swear it's music to our ears. I don't believe that every encounter with nature automatically transports us back to some mystical sense of well-being stolen away by modern life.  No doubt people have been inattentive and distracted as long as we've had the brains to string thoughts together.  But I know that we're equipped to see and hear more than we usually do and that sometimes, when conditions are right, we can open ourselves to a world so rich with sensations that it makes the booming progress of civilization dim to insignifance.

~Jerry Dennis

(From -- from "The Music Out There")

For more about The River Home check out this weeks Book Review.

Lighter Side, Part 1 | Lighter Side, Part 2

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