To the Editor:
Dear Brandon Butler ("Success is found in experience" 1/14/09),
I like your article. You write well, robustly. I see Jack London in your words and smile.
Keep writing! You speak for men who love to hunt, to kill animals for sport. You also speak as one who has the courage to seek a deeper, stronger relationship with the natural world as a reflection of yourself, a quality desperately needed today.
Those immeasurable, "remarkable" moments you experienced this season were a taste of connectedness to the life of the woods. The earth welcomed you. Her creatures accepted your presence. You felt "so simple, so refreshed" and something MORE.
It is reverence I read between the words of your article.
Reverence for life. Once experienced, everything changes. Like falling in love, we see differently. Our minds and hearts expand. Separateness shatters. There is unity. Harmony. You look back with longing for more time to "sit and reflect" because you connected to the spirit of the woods, the animals, and yourself.
You appreciated abundance in the life of the wild that transcends the thrill of killing.
The author James Oliver Curwood lived for months at a time in the wilderness of Canada. He tracked and killed 400 bears before being cornered by a giant grizzly who, miraculously, spared him.
Curwood put down his gun and started writing.
His book, "The Bear," prefaces with "I hope that what I have written may make others feel and understand that the greatest thrill of the hunt is not in killing, but in letting live."
Hawk. Racoon. Owl. Blue heron. Squirrel. You thought you wanted deer steaks! Denied the season's kill, you "partake" a new way.
Perhaps the same lesson?
So what happens now? Do you spend "nearly" $1,000 next year for tags? Do you go back to collect your bounty? And, by what authority give you others leave to hunt for "whatever your reason?"
Curwood distinguishes essential killing for food from the "lust of slaughter" he experienced killing four grizzlies in less than two hours. What is "ethically and morally" appropriate to take from nature, not to ward off starvation, or survive, but to stalk and kill a creature for enjoyment and the taste of "game"? Is invasion with weapons and intent to kill another, unarmed, a sport? Aren't all sportsmen courteous and fair? Nonessential killing is not appropriate. It is not honorable game.
Before his death in 1927, Curwood became one of America's most popular animal, wilderness and adventure writers. He writes that animals deserve the respect and affection they give each other.
There is a storyteller, a teacher, in your words, Brandon. Please speak for the animals and the land. Protect our earth in a world dangerously distanced from natural law. It's imperative that we work together to accept, change and repair this desperately severed relationship. The animals are calling your name.
And, call me, Brandon. I'll loan you "The Bear."
Marian Patience Harvey