Thoughts on Leave No Trace and Violence


I'm an outdoorsman. I like to get outside. Everywhere I go, I try to leave as little sign that I've been there as possible: take only pictures. Being outdoors, I too often see where others have left their mark on the landscape through graffiti, leaving trash, cutting down trees, poaching, etc.


Someone, many someones, drove all the way out here (Sand Rock, Alabama) and left sign that they had been there on the stones and the trees - a message to whoever would come next that they were here. Spray paint littered the easily accessed rock faces. Who are they? Who are those people who will go to a far off place just to mar it?

We will not last, and that's okay.

I feel fairly convinced behaviors like this come from some mixture of lacking awareness and wanting to be recognized. At once, aware of their satisfaction and unaware of that the expression of their agency is destructive.

We want to last, we do - but we are doomed. We will not last, and that's okay. I don't have my head completely around this yet - I think that might take a while. But it makes sense to me that we are here for a short period of time and we want to be recognized while we are here and remembered once we leave and there's something about the nature of the world that makes the easiest way of doing that, perhaps the only way of doing that, an act of violence.

I doubt that anyone spray painting their initials or some other sign or symbol is contemplating that they're fighting to show they exist and matter, but the impulse could still arise from there.

Like I said, I don't have my head completely wrapped around this yet and I'm kind of thinking aloud about it here. I'm also still working out how I will use this blog and I think I might use it as a sounding board to work through ideas and discuss whatever I'm thinking/writing about. Maybe I'll come back to this idea in some more deliberate way in the future.