Bruce Barcott Quotes
“This is what we see when we look up at Rainier, the beauty, the horror, the awe the unbelievability of size that confirms our own consequence on this earth. We look at the mountain, like god and can imagine nothing larger. Its incompressible life-span reminds us of the fleeting mortality of our own bones. It looms over our lives on clear days and and stay present but hidden through the clouds of winter. Like god it remains everywhere forever.”
“What will our descendants think when they come upon Chalillo? When they scrape away the deep layer of dirt covering in stepping-stone facade, what will they make of the dogleg desig, the Chinese gauges, the long-stopped turbines? What will they make of the skeletons and fossils long gone? Will they connect the two?”
“They could take this away from you, too," I said.
"Who take what?"
"Government. Shut down the harpy project."
"Nahh," she said. "No way. And even if they did, I'd find something else. You don't stop. If you lose a battle, that doesn't mean you stop. You keep fighting, You find other battles. The work to save what's left of nature is endless. You can get really down and depressed. But you can't stop and stand aside and let the wheels keep rolling in the wrong direction.”
“The rain is here because of the mountain. Warm, moist air from the Pacific Ocean flows over Western Washington and bumps into the Cascade Range. The air cools and condenses into clouds; it rains. From on high it looks as if a barn of cotton blew in and snagged on the jagged ridges of the Cascades.”
“People like Sharon are rare and strange and sometimes aggravating. They don't calm choppy waters. They barge in and stir things up when and make people frown when they'd rather smile. But sometimes all that smiling acts as a cover for a lot of wicked acts. But a good portion of my life I believed that a law of benevolent action held sway in the world. This law maintained that if you did the right thing and worked hard, eventually things would work out; that the world generally tended towards fairness, decency, and wisdom. But of course the world doesn't work that way. The people who learn that lesson through crushing experience and still refuse to bow to it astound me. They go on fighting, again and again and again. These people aren't perfect. They aren't simple heroes. They are complex human beings. And we need them. Because without them the world would be lost.”
“Indian Bar’s reputation as a notorious bear enclave can be accounted for by the acres of blueberries surrounding the camp. While they draw the bears, the berries also assure backcountry campers that bears will look upon them as nuisances in the berrypatch rather than two hundred pounds of meat on the hoof. That is, if you arrive during berry season. Which I did not. A ranger had issued me a wilderness permit to pitch my tent among the bears outside the designated camp, but by the time I’d bushwhacked to the top of a ridge above the Ohanapecosh River, I’d begun to question the wisdom of my decision. Every tentsize clearing under every tree bore the wilderness equivalent of a coat on a theater seat: bear scat big as cowpies and puddingly fresh.”
“In the 1840s the Nisqually Glacier reached about nine hundred feet past the Nisqually River bridge on the Paradise Road. Today the terminus sits more than a mile upvalley. The Carbon is currently in mild retreat; the ice at the terminus is melting back faster than the motion of the glacier can push it ahead. It has shrunk twenty feet every year since 1986.”
“The barometric pressure at sea level is 760 torr, a unit of measure named after Torricelli. By 10,000 feet the pressure has dropped to 525 torr, and at the 14,410-foot summit of Mount Rainier the pressure is around 440 torr, or more than forty percent less than at sea level. Most of the air collects at the bottom of the troposphere. When you stand atop Mount Rainier, almost half the weight of the world’s air floats beneath you.”
“Civilization proceeds in a direction opposite from everything mountains represent: starvation, hardship, coldness, the constant scramble to survive...People used to avoid mountains, but now we seek their company. We come for the pretty sights, but also to find a place still free from those life-saving constraints. We come to the mountain seeking beauty and terror.”
“This is not about you. Nobody gives a shit whether you like pot or hate it. This is a race issue. It's a civil rights issue. It's about millions of people losing their liberty and their lives because of ridiculous drug laws that do not work. There are generations of black men in prison because they were caught with a substance that's less harmful than alcohol. You're a white guy, so you don't have to worry about it. Others do.”
- Born: Everett, Washington, The United States.
- Description: Bruce Barcott is an American editor, environmental journalist and author. He is a contributing editor of Outside and has written articles for The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Mother Jones, Sports Illustrated, Harper's Magazine, Legal Affairs, Utne Reader and others. He has also written a number of books including, The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier (1997) and The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird (2008). In 2009 he was named a Guggenheim Fellow in nonfiction.