Everyone has a voice, and a choice to use it well, use it poorly, or not to use it at all.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


There is an earthy transcendence about time I spend with brothers in the backcountry.

There, around the fire, under the stars, roasting meat, we are as men have always been when away from women and the duties of the day.

We talk with solemn freedom of the questions which surround us like the night - metaphysics, philosophy, and ethics; thoughts of God and purpose- not because we want to assert our knowledge but because we perceive that the man across the fire has wisdom to speak to my wondering. Iron on iron. Not because we want to "vent" (achieve emotional relief through mere flapping of the gums), but because here there is deep understanding. David and Jonathan.

We joke about truly funny things, enjoying the carefree lilt of the woods. Chivalry burns in each heart, I reckon, but here there is no need for chivalry - only respect, and respect allows some of what chivalry does not. So we sit in silence, laugh like lions, recite a few lines, pile a dead tree on the conflagration, poke a stick through a few more pieces of meat and roast them like a dead mammoth. "I was once, I declare, a stone-age man".

If we stayed long enough (a few weeks or years, depending) we would begin to miss what we left behind. Mothers and sweethearts, mostly. Missing a rib. For now, for these few hours, we sit, smoke, eat, laugh, and drink in a peace and joy as pure as bachelors can know in this world.

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