Deakin’s ‘Wildwood’ pt. VII

Recently I’ve been imagining a bumper sticker to distribute generously, under the cover of darkness, and smother the backs of SUVs and 4x4s – which bully their way through urban and narrow roads and are significantly more deadly to cyclists and pedestrians, potentially. (The best one so far: ‘One day I’ll look good naked; for now I’m just gross. Slim my wheels.’) So it’s affirming to learn that I share this particular gripe with the author of Wildwood, the book that’s been proving a gem:

It had rained heavily in the desert for the first time in several years, and Latz was planning an expedition to see what plants had come up, and which trees and bushes flowered or fruited out there.

Next day we drove into Alice Springs to buy ice and provisions for the journey out west towards Glen Helen Gorge and the Finke River. Back in Latz’s yard, we loaded his Toyota truck with our swags, mosquito nets, rucksacks, camping gear and his precious botanical pressing boards. We filled water cans and crammed ice and raw food into the Esky freezer. In the best nomadic traditions of the central deserts, Latz clearly spent most of his time on the road, or rather off it, in a four-wheel drive: all we had to do with most of the gear was lift it in boxes straight out of a garage shed. There was even a small folding table, and a canvas chair for each of us. The very sight of a four-wheel-drive is usually enough to send me into a green rage, but, as we pulled away, crammed in the cab of the big, dusty ute, moving along the line of rugged hills to the west, fording the great desert rivers – the Hugh, the Ellery and at last the Finke – this suddenly seemed the most natural means of transport in the world.

– from the late Roger Deakin’s ‘Wildwood – A Journey through Trees’ (pp.238-9). The quote reminds me of one of the most pertinent questions we can ask, I think, when faced with choices to realise a more ecologically-informed culture. Namely, ‘what’s appropriate?’

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