One rancher's narrow viewpoint

  Dear HCN,

I can't quite figure why Peggy Godfrey's story got front-page coverage (HCN, 12/6/99: Peggy Godfrey's long, strange trip). While she is certainly an interesting person, her life and outlook are neither unique nor visionary. She appears to view the world through the same narrow slot common to many other ranchers. Her awareness and emotional connections are focused on and limited to the creatures she is charged with managing. She weeps for the mauled lambs, but shoots the pup without remorse. She reads the coyote's signal to find the cow in distress, but fails to see any environmental impact from grazing.

She is full of contempt for those who don't see what she sees, but this is simply provincial.

I learn of the presence of predators on my rural property by watching the behavior of my house cats and the wild birds. The suburbanite's instincts home in on the wail of a child in trouble or the subtle signs of domestic trouble in a neighbor's house. The urbanite's antenna tells him where it is safe to park the car and when to cross the street to avoid confrontations.

We all learn to read what we need to know about, and contempt is a poor way to teach others to see the same things we do.

Peg Ferm
Monroe, Washington

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