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In praise of pragmatism

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Dear HCN,

I thoroughly enjoyed your essay, "Rearranging the grid" (HCN, 1/29/01: Rearranging the grid), as I do most of what you write. I have become a little jaded at the stridence of environmental writing today, the constant inferences that, indeed, the sky is falling. After 77 years, I know better.

Your graphic description of how pragmatic conservative Westerners often are and how they often come around to goals and means that further conservation is smack on target. After all, isn't that what conservative used to mean? Yours was a thoughtful story about little people, and yet it sustains the concept that people of good will and common sense can deal with divisive problems in rational, constructive ways. I fervently believe this is the template of success, not law courts and restraining orders.

Your writing reminds me of Wallace Stegner's. He was never a heavy breather, but he wrote sensitively of the West and its problems. Your essay affirms his conviction that "stickers" who live full time out here will determine the future of our land, and that the Rocky Mountain West is, indeed, the native home of hope.

Thanks for the encouragement.

John M. Good
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

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