Crosing, avalanche chute, South Wallowas . . .
On the road in the American Northwest.
In all fundamental change, we should prepare ourselves
for fall back. This is a sudden slide back into an old habit
of thought and action. Say, I quit smoking. Then one rainy day,
someone offers me a cigarette, and I'm right back in the old
groove again. Or, we decide to take apart at great cost the
horrendous mistake of atomic reactors, and begin the
complicated task of getting rid of all the hazardous waste.
Then one dark day, oil and electricity prices soar, and suddenly
we want to turn the reactors back on. (This is actually taking
place in Germany right now as I write this.)
The transition from old to new, from an old regime or pattern
of movement—and way of seeing and thinking—to a new,
better, healthier one. This process or period of change from
one state to another should have a special name. It is always
an exacting, exciting time, alive with new challenges. But it is
also a vulnerable, tender time, like spring, in which new,
emerging growth can be frozen dead in an instant with the
return and harsh indifference of a late winter's frost. But see the
reddish tinge on many new shoots and leaves. It's natural
'antifreeze,' Nature's way of protecting the new during the
transition time from high-country spring to summer.
In the shadow cast by real innovation's forward momentum,
there will always be those who will refuse to change. They
remain doggedly committed to the old, outmoded technologies,
like nuclear energy and fossil fuels, perhaps because of some
special, vested interest. It's only to be expected. Just temporary
slips on the bright path of progressive change.