One Man’s Wilderness book review

One Man’s Wilderness book review

“I don’t know what the answer is. In time man gets used to almost anything, but the problem seems to be that technology is advancing faster than he can adjust to it. I think it’s time we started applying the brakes, slowing down our greed and slowing down the world.”

Dick Proenneke

Based on the 1968/69 journals of Dick Proenneke and edited/written by Sam Keith, later made into the documentary film “Alone in the Wilderness“, One Man’s Wilderness is simply mind blowing. It’s what many of us dream of doing – but we seriously don’t have the old school skills or determination of the legendary Dick Proenneke who, at 50 years of age, heads to Alaska, builds his own cabin with simple tools and then spends the next 35 years living in tune with nature.

The book is both inspirational and also a frustrating, tantalizing vision of what once was and what is now almost impossible. It’s the “modern” version of Thoreau’s Walden. Every modern book, film and TV series on Alaska started from this.

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Sandy has a visit from rescued dogs

Sandy has a visit from rescued dogs

My Jack Russell, Sandy, was ecstatic today to have a visit from a brother and sister pair who are still puppies. My wife’s cousin’s husband found them abandoned at the Polish border and brought them home. They’re a very mixed breed pair but they’re very sweet.

I hate it when people just dump their dogs by the side of the road. A dog is utterly dependent on its owner and is part of the family. Its entire universe is its owner and their family. To be dumped and abandoned is soul destroying. Now my town is filled with small dogs, mainly Maltese terriers, most of which have been bought as Christmas presents for some kid who gets bored with them after a few months of having to take them out 3 times a day regardless of the weather. I expect many of these fashionable presents will end up dumped also.

History crumbles before my eyes

History crumbles before my eyes

Since I’ve been living in Slovakia, a little over 16 years now, I’ve seen some major changes. I’ve watched entire historical aspects of living culture vanish in the onslaught of globalisation.

I took this photo a year ago. It’s of an uninhabited neighbouring property and shows how the barn on the side of the house was hand crafted from hewn wood. This barn no longer exists. One storm too many and too little attention paid to it saw it come crashing down on itself. Just before winter the inheritors of the property came and removed the final beams and logs, leaving an aching chasm where once had been artisanship and daily toil.

So many of the buildings in my area will suffer the same fate and will ultimately be levelled in order for their land to be replanted with mortgage-ridden McMansions. Just a generation or two earlier and the houses and outbuildings were built by hand by the owners and a group of volunteers from the village paid in drink and food.