Sunday, April 12, 2009

Some Wise Words From TR

The following is the foreword to a book I am currently reading by Teddy Roosevelt (one of 35 he authored) called, A Book Lovers Holidays in the Open. I felt he described my feeling about the outdoors quite well. TR was perhaps one of the greatest outdoorsman ever to walk the face of the earth, in my opinion. He travelled the world hunting, camping, fishing, and most importantly of all helped to establish five of our National Parks while serving as President, in part due to his friendship with John Muir and other conservationists and naturalists of their time.

"The man should have youth and strength who seeks adventure in the wide, waste spaces on the earth, in the marshes, and among the vast mountain masses, in the northern forests, amid the steaming jungles of the tropics, or on the deserts of sand or of snow. He must long greatly for the lonely winds that blow across the wilderness, and for sunrise and sunset over the rim of the empty world. His heart must thrill for the saddle and not for the hearthstone. he must be helmsman and chief, the cragsman, the rifleman, the boat steerer. He must be the wielder of axe and of paddle, the rider of fiery horses, the master of the craft that leaps through white water. His eye must be true and quick, his hand steady and strong. His heart must never fail nor his head grow bewildered, whether he face brute and human foes, or the frowning strength of hostile nature, or the awful fear that grips those who are lost in trackless lands. Wearing toil and hardship shall be his; thirst and famine he shall face, and burning fever. Death shall come to greet him with poison-fang or poison arrow, in shape of charging beast or of scaly things that lurk in lake and river; it shall lie in wait for him among untrodden forests, in the swirl of wild waters, and in the blast of snow blizzard or thunder-shattered hurricane.

Not many men can with wisdom make such a life their permanent and serious occupation. Those whose tasks lie along other lines can lead it but a few years. For them it must normally come in the hardy vigor of their youth, before the beat of the blood has grown sluggish in their veins.

Nevertheless, older men also can find joy in such a life, although in their case it must be led only on the outskirts of adventure, and although the part they play therein must be that of onlooker rather than that of the doer. The feats of prowess are for others. It is for other men to face the peril of unknown lands, to master unbroken horses, and to hold their own among their fellows with bodies of supple strength.

The grandest scenery of the world is his to look at if he chooses...the beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of present travel. He can see the red splendor of the desert sunsets, and the unearthly glory of the after-glow on the battlements of desolate mountains. In sapphire gulfs of ocean he can visit islets, above which the wings of myriads of sea-fowl make a kind of shifting cuneiform script in the air. He can ride along the brink of the stupendous cliff-walled canyon, where eagles soar below him, and cougars make their lairs on the ledges and harry the big-horned sheep. He can journey through the northern forests, the home of the giant moose, the forests of fragrant and murmuring life in summer, the iron-bound and melancholy forest of winter.

The joy of living is his who has the heart to demand it."

-Theodore Roosevelt


AP said...

Very inspiring. We are getting to be the old ones though. We have got to do more while we are still young. MP

Adam said...

Speak for yourself, I am not even 30 yet...I'm never going to get old!

AP said...

This isn´t really related to your blog, but hello from Mexico. We are having a great time. Talk to you on Tues or Wed