My reaction to Rob White's "Sacred Places' (HCN, 3/7/94) was a bit different from Hannah Hinchman's (HCN, 4/18/94). I felt White's essay to be one of the most insightful I've ever read in HCN. Judging by Hinchman's many fine points, I would guess that if she read "Sacred Places' without prejudice she might realize how much she agrees with White.
I think that White's implied alternative to loving our sacred places to death is to recognize that the sacred can be found in our own backyards. If sacred places are found everywhere, then there is less need to pilgrimage en masse to Outside's featured vistas.
I would further suggest that we don't know what to do when we arrive at Outside's cover shot. My first visit to Canyonlands as a college freshman, for example, was experienced through a fog of alcohol and pot. On my more recent visits to the Colorado Plateau, I've had a considerably different attitude. I suggest that the inner process that both White and Hinchman advocate can be facilitated by experiencing the wilderness without time or destination.
Get off that mountain bike, forget the march to the confluence, leave the brew at the Rio. Slow down long enough to really experience wilderness and self. The resulting reverence for place can only serve to further its conservation.
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