April 6, 2022 | By:

A Talk with Jack Loeffler (Part 2): Ed Abbey, Gary Snyder, Decentralization, Flow of Nature, Bioregionalism

I had the good fortune to talk with Jack Loeffler over two days in December of 2021, and I transcribed the conversation. This is part two of an edited version of our talk.  (Read part one here and part three here.)

Ed & Jack, at their campsite on the Chama River, 1980-something (Photo: Katherine Loeffler)

Ed & Jack, at their campsite on the Chama River, 1980-something (Photo: Katherine Loeffler)

(Jack Loeffler) JL I don’t know if you ever saw the book I did on Ed Abbey, but he asked me to write his memoir which I did. He asked me to be his chronicler, that’s the way he put it, on three different occasions, because we had delved into conversations that much and really did understand each other’s minds  — as much as one fellow human can, with another. At one point I wondered whether an anarchist was born or shaped by circumstances because his dad used to read to him when they were all kids in the Abbey household back in Pennsylvania, Walt Whitman, and part of one of Ed’s big apothems — or, sort of a phrase that he took from Walt Whitman was ‘Resist much, obey little,’ and we talked about that forever and ever. And he did what he called ‘night-work’, and we shared in that somewhat, sometimes. We also talked about the anarchist tenet of keeping a cell, so to speak, of no greater than three people. Because that’s the largest number of people who can really be counted on to keep a secret before it starts to spread. And we talked about that all the time.

Ed talked about the whole notion of decentralisation — his perspective. In that book Headed Upstream, that I mentioned earlier, there’s an entire interview I conducted with Ed on January the 1st, New Year’s Day 1983, and we’d just come back from camping in the Superstition Mountains, and we knew he had the malaise, the sickness that would finally kill him — it took another six years but it did get him. And we thought it’d be a good idea to record some of his basic thoughts, and so he really opened up on that, and it was beautiful. And he talked about it, I asked him about what he thought about sabotage and eco-terrorism, and he really… believed in doing sabotage as The Monkey Wrench Gang talks about — (whistles) boy, does it ever — and ‘eco-terrorism’ he defined it as what governments do against their own people, and even what corporations do against the habitat. And he said: taking a chain between two big tractors and pulling down trees to clear land was an act of eco-terrorism. And so, there’s this whole sense of what ‘eco-terrorism’ really is, and what a sense of being pitted against a real enemy is — which I’ve known about for a long, long, long time, and the more I’ve thought about, especially now and maybe it’s because at the age of 85, one’s testosterone levels have declined enormously, but between humans it’s not a good thing, the best thing to focus on is trying to bring together a bottom-line perspective that brings us back to reality, which is getting really tough, man, because — we’re… in 2023 we’ll hit 8 billion people on the planet. When I was born there were just over 2 billion — boy, what a thought! It’s just grown enormously just in one single lifetime. When Ed was born in 1927, the population was just under 2 billion. It hit 2 billion in 1929 I think, Gary Snyder was born in 1930, six years before I was, I was born in 1936 and so Gary — and he was born in San Francisco but lived in a rural area outside of Seattle, Washington for a long time. And his sense of anarchism was different from Ed’s and he — I liken him very much to Kropotkin, have you read Kropotkin?

JL       Well, he can be tough reading. He died in the 1920’s, he sort of inherited the anarchist mantle form Bakunin when he died but Kropotkin ended up in exile because the Marxist and the Leninists really didn’t want to have him around because he was adamantly opposed to any sort of bureaucracy. He was a brilliant scientist, trained in biology and geography and spent five years in Siberia mapping mountain ranges at the same time, armed with Darwin, really started studying the wildlife of every conceivable creature that he could encounter in the Siberian area where he was. And his magnum opus in entitled Mutual Aid, and I’m paraphrasing here, but his conclusion here is that human evolution owes, and evolution of all species owes far more to mutual cooperation than mutual antagonism, and I think that’s one of the most brilliant thoughts ever to spring from any fellow human.

And so, I really love that about Gary’s thinking. In 1985 — Gary and I’ve been friends for a very long time, we were actually room-mates at the first UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm back in 1972, and so, we really got to know each other then, but we’d known each other since ‘64, and… were drawn to each other’s thinking by virtue of how much we both considered indigenous peoples as being very important to contribute their perspectives to the bigger picture. Anyway, in 1985 I went back to Gary’s house, I was actually transporting a buddha.

(Rowan Kilduff) RK (laughs)

JL       A friend here in Santa Fe had bought a buddha, a big buddha, you know? Two-and-a-half, three-feet-high, which I strapped into the front seat of my truck —

RK      Jack, I’m gonna have to write a poem about this: ‘’Jack Loeffler transporting a buddha,’’ it’s the perfect image. In the truck!

JL    (laughs) And at one point I stopped at Capitol Reef National Monument (laughing) and I hiked up the canyon back and came back and there was a Swiss couple looking at the buddha inside my pickup truck and they (laughs) they said “Do you always travel with a buddha?”

and I said “Oh yes, we have these long conversations.” (laughs)

RK      And what was it, a wooden statue?

JL       No, a metal buddha. It was from Southeast Asia.

RK      For Gary Snyder?

JL       Yeah, and my friend who was also a friend of Gary, had bought it for Gary and knew that I was driving to the west coast from Santa Fe, and so I took the buddha, and after, Gary (laughs) — it actually kinda took both of us to carry it from the truck to the ashram there, the name of his… Skin and Bones, whatever it is, ashram at Kitkitdizze (RK: Ring of Bone Zendo) we put it on an altar and then cooled-out for a while. I camped there that night and we had a great evening by the way — we built a campfire. He was then married to Masa, and I saw his two kids, Kai and Gen, and a … both wonderful kids — both, especially, I know Gen a lot better than Kai.

JL       Well anyway, the next day I pulled out my recorder ‘cause I have travelled with a recorder for almost sixty years now, and I recorded Gary which is also, the entirety of that interview is also in that book Headed Upstream, as is one with Philip Whalen who is another one of the great beat poets, and he and Gary were housemates at Reed College back in the ‘50’s. Do you know Philip’s work?

RK      Yeah.

JL       Philip was my next door neighbor for many years and we also became very close friends. I miss him big-time. But anyway, in the course of that interview I asked Gary to talk about his concept of bioregionalism, which to me is one of the most important concepts that have come out of the sort-of… collaborative relationship between part of the counterculture movement and part of the modern-radical-environmental movement, and I’ve used that, part of that quote is in that book Headed into the Wind, and the entirety of it is in Headed Upstream. I called them — I called it ”Headed into the Wind” ‘cause I thought of it as the other end of the books that I would’ve done, starting with Headed Upstream but I just finished another manuscript so it wasn’t — (laughs)

RK      (laughs) It wasn’t the last one.

JL       — anyway, the upshot is, is that I feel that bioregionalism is totally, totally critical and so that’s a concept that I’ve really tried to forward a lot. This is a book of Gary’s that I love (Practice of the Wild).

RK      Yeah. I’ve got it right here, it’s one of my most-read.

JL       And in it he has, yeah beautiful, in it he has an essay on bioregionalism, one on the commons — understanding the commons.

JL       It’s a very important book, I think that that book by Gary Snyder and Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey are two cornerstone books.

RK      Yeah. In this book my favorite essay is ”Blue Mountains, Constantly Walking.’’

JL       Ah, yes.

RK      — about the ”Mountains and Rivers sutra”, this whole part, really amazing.

JL       Boy, Gary and I’ve run two rivers together, and one was the San Juan. and Gary Nabhan and his bride were on that river trip as well, and the other river was the Desolation Canyon part, a good 10-day trip on the Green River. Dave Foreman was on that as was another very interesting thinker, Peter Coyote, who became a movie actor and is also a wonderful narrator, and Peter’s a good friend as well.

But one of the thoughts I’d want to express before it goes out of my head is the importance of counterculture in this whole thing. Now counterculture sort-of melded into the hippie movement some years later which also brought a whole bunch of so-called ‘Bay Area hippies’ to northern New Mexico, and some of them started communes and stuff like that, but the upshot is that there was a huge wave of the spirit of the Earth that imbued that early counterculture movement.

Ed Abbey, on the other hand, was deeply into — he’d written his Master’s thesis at the University of New Mexico, called ‘‘The Morality of Political Violence’’ and it was on five different anarchist thinkers and Ed was a hardcore anarchist who loved the out-of-doors, deeply. And I saw Ed as the godfather of the radical environmental movement and I continue to see Gary as the godfather of the counterculture movement because Gary imbued the counterculture movement with a sense of nature, which really — in other words, and not like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac who were very urbanified, although Gary introduced both of them to the wild. I never met Jack, but I knew Allen fairly well, and watched the evolution of his thinking.

I used to have a quote from Piotr Kropotken tacked to my studio wall and one of the things in it he lauded was [that] looking through science was important to be both natural-minded and scientifically-minded, and one day Allen and Peter Orlovsky, his compañero, were having breakfast at our house and he read that thing tacked to my wall, and he took great umbrage with the notion of ‘science’, and so we had a discussion about that because I feel that science is human curiosity taken to the nth degree, it’s been the application, or misapplication of science that’s resulted in the catastrophe. And so, we need good science to help us wend our way out but not science alone, and this is what I think is so important about indigenous-mindedness and the peoples who still have it, in a traditional sense, who haven’t been totally subsumed by monoculture, have so much to teach us about a system of attitudes that’s absolutely vital to our species if we’re gonna continue to exist. And we cannot continue to exist in the numbers that we do — I think that we need to, hopefully, through attrition rather than violence reduce our numbers to something like… a twentieth of our population or less — you know, really cut back because we are really, we think that habitat is for us to use, as part of our presumed human needs and yet, habitat needs to use us to sustain itself, and there’s a level of cognition that pervades habitat of which we are a part, but simply a part — but boy, when you walk through habitat and you sense it, everyday, and you intuit it everyday, and you sit down on the dirt and stare at a yucca plant or a juniper tree, you sense cognition in that, and you can’t sense it all the way anymore than it can sense the cognition in you.

And I, one of the things that was interesting to me, one of the last interviews I conducted was with a man named Mark Bekoff, who’s an ethologist — somebody who looks at animal psychology, who lives in Boulder, Colorado — brilliant man, and I asked him to look at the difference between sentience, cognition, and consciousness, and he — nobody could do a very good job of that (laughs) because at which point does cognition actually land in consciousness as we know it? And at what point does sentience and cognition overlap? In other words, these are things that, unless you have a mind that can be in it, we can’t totally understand, we can only suppose. That’s the heart of it.

RK      You’ve hit on one of the big koans of what we can know and what we can only feel. I was thinking to ask you, here’s a big koan on its own: if you think of — many times I think of it like this: if you look at whales doing their thing, living their life in peace, or forests… every life is in a kind of harmony and it’s just we who feel like we don’t belong, and I wonder about this — how is this even possible that there could be any lifeform that would have a feeling that we don’t belong. We have to find and search the way to fit back in, the way like in your book you wrote about ‘membership to the biotic community’ — how to find that again? And it seems like it’s all over the world and in all the traditions — searching the ways how to get back, and I think Gary Snyder said it many times and in his poems, the basic idea that all beings are enlightened, everything is already enlightened — seems to me that that’s the big question, what’s going on with us that we have to search so much just to be at home?

JL       Well, I’ll harken back to one of the things that Ed and I used to talk about all the time, and he put it very succinctly — we blew it when we took the gods out of nature and made them into a big anthropomorphic being that isn’t here, but up in the sky somewhere —

RK      Right.

JL       We took the local deities away from the place and the spirit of place is no longer available to be seen or sensed by those of us who have done that. I for one, I mean I was born into a Christian family, but I was totally over it by the time I was twelve years old, and —

RK      I can relate. (laughs)

JL       (laughs) and I’ve been on my own quest ever since and… I’m not a buddhist, I think of myself as a ‘nature-ist’ because that comes as close to it as anything I could use as a word to define it because I have great respect for that little book, the Dao de ching, which inspired Gary and inspired Ed and inspired me, it has inspired so many of us.

RK      Yeah.

JL       And I still read it, every now and then, different parts of it. I had a cousin, he’s gone now, he died, but could read it in the original Chinese. He was a Chinese scholar and boy, do I appreciate that — Gary could read it in the original language too, and Gary could read Chinese and Japanese. And it’s been about a month since I’ve heard from Gary, I mean I’m — he’s getting old, and so am I, but he’s six years older than I and the last time we did a presentation together which was in 2017…both of us were having to remind each other (laughing) about certain ideas and thoughts that we had!

RK      Was that the one about Aldo Leopold? I watched a talk where the two of you were In New Mexico —

JL       Aldo Leopold, wow, well that was back in 2013 and we were doing it for the Quivira Coalition, and in 2009 I had produced a radio program on the life of Aldo Leopold in the North American southwest where he achieved the perspective that finally came out in A Sand County Almanac. And I got to know his daughter Estella, who is now, she’s still with us at the age of 93 or 4, Emerita at the University of Washington in paleobotany, a brilliant woman in her own right. Each of the five kids was incredible. I interviewed Luna Leopold, who was the great hydrologist for both the Colorado River and the Rio Grande, and I interviewed Nina, not in person for that, but now Estella’s the only one left alive.

And now Gary had been influenced by Aldo Leopold’s work and as I recall, one of the things that — wow, this is a conversation from maybe three years ago, four years ago — he was here staying with us at the time, talking about his need, his own need to write some sort of an essay on the ‘land ethic’, which is to me, the finest essay in A Sand County Almanac by Leopold. And so we were both discussing Aldo Leopold and sometimes we don’t always agree but that’s the good thing, I mean…sometimes you need that to invigorate the next thought.

But one of the things that I have taken from the interview that I conducted with Estella right here in this room where I am now, to preface that: one day she came by with her guitar, and she sang for me the Leopold family repertoire of Hispano folk songs because her moma was an hispano lady, born here in New Mexico into one of the great families — the Luna family, after whom their son Luna was named. But the upshot is that one of the things that Estella said to me was that when they got to the shack, they talked about what they were gonna do and what Aldo wanted to do, and her mom, Estella senior, so to speak, thought — boy, this is a really funky place — I’m paraphrasing here, but they cleaned it up and what Aldo wanted to do was plant the appropriate plant-life for each the zones: the plateau, and then down closer to the river. And Estella told me that that was actually, from her point-of-view, as a highly educated woman, the beginning of restoration ecology. And it was, within the context of… monocultural thinking. But it sure wasn’t from the point-of-view of indigenous-mindedness peoples that I have known. Because, boy, I mean even before, like there are waffle-gardens over in Zuni, and then there are places that Aldo visited down in the Rio Gavilan area in Mexico, where he saw signs of human habitation, but he regarded it as true wilderness because at that part, that point in his own thinking, there was a time when we were part of wilderness, and wilderness was part of us.

Jack Loefller and Gary Snyder

Jack Loefller and Gary Snyder in Santa Fe, 2013 (Photo: Don J. Usner and thanks to the New Mexico DSA)

JL       And so everybody talks about — one of my great favorite thinkers is Paul Shepard, or was. Do you know his work? Oh, wonderful thinker. He died in 1995 — I’ve got several of his books here, the one that I love, that turned me onto his thinking, was called Coming Home to the Pleistocene. Gary actually wrote something for, like a preface or an endnote for one of Paul Shepard’s books. I know that Gary was fascinated by his thinking as well. Shepard regarded his best book as one called Nature and Madness, which I’m reading now. It’s about how we went from being totally sane, as hunter-gatherers during the Pleistocene, and when agriculturalists are out of balance with the hunter-gatherers who live nearby and just 3 or 4 different segments of human history from the last 10,000 years…  I think he’s very much on the mark, but he never really got to experience hanging out, living with true indigenous traditional peoples in their own habitat, which is a wondrous experience in my experience. I mean, boy, when I think about where I’ve been, having been invited with my wife back in 1971 into a Hopi kiva and listening to Hopi men tell me their perspectives, was just, it was just overwhelming. And these different things have happened to me throughout my life so that I’ve been able to experience, well, for example, in 1965 going to a southern-Ute Sun Dance for the first time. Four days and nights, no food or water, dancing. They didn’t pierce themselves. I don’t know if your friend —

RK      Yeah, yeah, they do that.

JL       And they have a different thing, it’s a heavy-duty fast, four days and nights. I was invited to participate but if you do it once you have to do it twelve years running.

RK      Wow.

JL       And I didn’t think I could commit to that, because I have never committed to anything  —

RK      (laughs)

JL       — that long. I figure, one of my mottos has always been: Trust to the inspiration of the moment, y’know? (laughs)

RK      You know this could be a good moment to ask you, just to jump back to the Dao de ching, because I know you’ve been into this for a long time. Maybe it’s one of the core ideas there, of wu wei, of ‘effortless action’ or ‘actionless action’, and I was thinking — how does that fit in for you with, let’s say, wilderness, indigenous living, and maybe how to move forward as people into a kind of effortless living? How could that work?

JL       Well, there are just so many ways to get there, but that’s very much at the heart of what I’m trying to write about in this essay I’m doing now, ‘On direct action.’ I don’t feel good about direct action in that sense, because it’s not wu wei like that, it’s imposing one’s own personal bias on something to the extent that it can be overly-active and can do extreme harm.

RK      It can be polarizing as well, and we already have a pretty polarized society on many, many issues.

JL       We do.

RK      And the issue of this idea of activism and fighting — fighting against the big companies, fighting each other, fighting oneself most of the time and getting in our own way while we do it — so that’s why I brought this up because it seems to me to be really at the core of the whole problem — how to get over that fighting and seeing again the separation, getting through those borders so we can just get on with life. And you know, it seems to me and maybe this is a little bit naive, or maybe practical or a bit of both, but if we can talk together for ecological, environmental peace, whatever that might look like, then something like world peace between countries might not be such a big deal, because if we can already put aside so many things and look beyond ourselves and look beyond our lifetimes and really then act in that way then something like world peace could be done. Seems to me.

JL       Well, I think that you’re right on. Here’s, this is one of the things that I’ve taken from the daoist approach: I had a very good friend, a man named Gia Fu Feng who I met at Big Sur when I used to work [there]. He started a monastery actually (in Colorado in 1962). He died of pneumonia. (RK note: Gia Fu Feng’s Tao te Ching with his wife, Jane English, from all the versions I’ve read is my favorite.) But the upshot is, in discussions I’ve had with people who have really gotten into it, it itself sets up an attitude which is critical, and that attitude has to do with… states of balance. I think that’s why I think of myself more as a nature-ist more than anything, a daoist or an anarchist, or any of those things, because if one put oneself as part of the mind of Nature, sees oneself as a mini, mini, mini dot in the Flow of Nature, that really helps. And to me, the biggest problem of all is contemporary human attitudes. There’s this entire system of attitudes founded on the wrong principals, and if indeed we were to get back to an ecologically dominated perspective or whatever these words mean, because language itself puts you in a system of attitudes which is, I mean trying to think without words is really a big, it’s a good thing to try.

RK      Yeah.

JL       Practice and try to become as empty as possible and let the real Flow pass through.

RK      When people have these kind-of peyote experiences, opening up, seeing clearly, or when someone is really out in Nature, really way out there and you start to feel more. It is kind of without words because when you try to talk about it after it’s not so easy — so it’s direct.

JL       Oh, it’s hard, Rowan, it really is and one of the things that I think about a lot is “skinny dipping in the Flow of Nature.” I think I put that phrase in that book.

RK      Yeah, I love that part. I have some pages I read again just before we talked and that was one of the lines.

JL       (laughs) But that’s what I felt like when I was swimming in a wild river, when I’d jump out of the raft and just get in it. I would be skinny dipping in the Flow of Nature.

RK      I’ll tell you, one time I slipped down an ice slope, it was about minus 20 (degrees celsius) and I just went down, down, down 30 meters sliding, sliding, sliding — and that was a different kind of skinny dipping! I could feel it through my jacket, the ice.

JL       (laughing)

RK      And the only thing that caught me because I don’t know where I would’ve ended up — the only thing that caught me was my backpack strap caught on a spruce tree somewhere on the way down and I was just hanging out there. (laughs) Happy to be alive, y’know?

JL       (laughs) Yeah, I understand those feelings. Oh boy — no, I remember the first time I ever ran a river back in 1971, it was the San Juan River, and I was actually naked in an inner-tube floating down the river and all of a sudden came upon a rapid and thought ‘oh no!’ (laughs), but I made it.  No, it’s those kinds of experiences, and being out in it, which I try to do every morning. I mean, at my age walking a mile is not bad ‘cause one of my only, when I used to do a lot of lectures and stuff like that, especially before young people, my only piece of advice was to break as few bones as possible (laughs), because you know it later on! (laughs)

RK      You’ll be happy to hear I kept to that advice. I’ve been very lucky, many times, very lucky.

JL         But I just, you know I think if we can just – this to me is the hardest part, like I said earlier over 80 percent of the people in America live in cities, and one of the chapters in that book Headed into the Wind is where I try to point out something in the interviews. One with Stewart Udall, who was a very important Secretary of the Interior here, who had been born into and raised in a very rural part of southern Arizona, and Stewart Brand, who to me was an old friend, I mean from way back — back in 1960 I met Stewart, and he had just graduated from Stanford and he went on to do the Whole Earth Catalog, but he’s very much into techno-fantasy in a way, which is a word coined by my friend Bill Brown, a great man no longer with us. But at any rate I tried to show the differences in perspective between somebody who was rurally-minded and someone who was urbanly-minded, and how do we find a balance there, how do we put the spirits back in nature, how do we even find the spirits again? Because, I can find ’em. Where I live, I go dance with ’em. Y’know and it’s like that. I can hear and sense all of this stuff that is imbued with life, and what some people would think was inorganic like the rocks and yet, boy, I feel it. And that’s one of the things that Ed said that he was an absolute, or almost absolute egalitarian, and that extended beyond the human domain, but included all living entities and even the rocks and the water and the air. That’s what Rina also said, it was as though they paraphrased each other and yet they never met. But they knew it on an intuitive basis or whatever you wanna call it. Robert Heinlein came up with that word ‘grok’ in his wonderful book, Stranger in a Strange Land, that came out back in the early 1960s. I had that book with me when I lived in the Hogan at Navajo Mountain in 1964 along with Jung’s autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections, and that great poem by Nikos Kazantzakis — different books like that I’ve read interconnect on certain fundamental levels have opened me to see that it is possible to conceive of this balance with nature even from somebody who has lived in a monocultural perspective one’s entire lifetime.

I mean I was born in the middle of the Great Depression in West Virginia and have been an American for 85 1/2 years. So I certainly understand American perspective, but there’s something that I understand which seems to be something that is outside predominant American perspective. American perspective, monocultural perspective in general should include this whole sense more deeply of the Flow of Nature than it does of its own very limited perspective. And getting back to wu wei, to me talking to people, writing about the necessity for a shift of attitude and then trying to point a direction into just becoming as imbued with the spirit of Nature as one can, by getting out in it, even if it’s just out in a backyard and just communicating or trying to communicate, meditating maybe, on a plant that grows, and understand that that plant has some level of cognition, and that’s something we share, this ability to be cognitive. It comes with life.

RK      We don’t have to search very far. You know I live in a city now but here you can see kestrel nesting on the rooftops, you can see hawks flying over, nesting in woods nearby, there are deer that make their home in little patches of forest here and there, and the wildlife is right here at home, but a lot of people go by and they don’t really notice, they don’t really take a look — and then how can they appreciate and give space for that. Seems to me to be pretty easy to just take a look around and realise we share home with so many.

JL       Well, we do. My wife and I moved into this place, oh, going back as you saw in the book… in 1973 we built a house on sort of the outskirts of Santa Fe, in rural Santa Fe

which got too crowded for us and so we parlayed that into this place out here which is rural. We live on about 12 acres to which we own the deed, but we do not own the land ‘cause nobody can own the land (laughs), or the air… or the sunlight or whatever, but what I’ve noticed since we’ve lived here is fewer hawks, more ravens. And while I respect ravens enormously, because of their intelligence, as a matter of fact a friend of mine, man named Richard Nelson wrote two books, one was called Make Prayers to the Raven, and he lived with raven-worshipping people up in Alaska a lot. Beautiful book. By the way, ravens have, according to one guy I’ve read, about 200 different distinguishable vocables.

RK      Yeah, I’ve heard that.

JL       And that’s amazing to me, and I’ve watched them ‘cause I see them here all the time. But I still see kestrels — we have every spring a nesting pair comes back to nest in the roof, and I don’t disapprove! (laughs)

RK      Let me tell you, there are these two women, I think one in America, one in New Zealand, who are trying to decode whale songs and the language of whales. There’s a beautiful film about it called Fathom, and what’s a really nice point in this is, the takeaway that I got from it is that: when they tried to communicate with whales, or say with dolphins, what they find is that they (the scientists) don’t understand much but the whales and dolphins make great efforts and are better at understanding us. Wildlife can understand us much faster. And that tells me something, we’ve still got a long way to go.

blue lines for peace (2) : fire-flowers. By RK

blue lines for peace (2): fire-flowers. By RK


"WIND-TALK / FIRst nations''. Acrylic & pencil on paper.: by RK.

“WIND-TALK / FIRst nations.” Acrylic & pencil on paper. By RK.

About Jack Loeffler:
Jack Loeffler is an aural historian, environmentalist, writer, radio producer, and sound-collage artist. His Navajo friend, Shonto Begay writes, “by documenting the voices and stories of the land Jack moves us and helps us to rediscover our own voices.” Jack’s daughter says, “He makes friends everywhere he goes, because he cares. He empathizes and connects with every living being he encounters. From the child sitting across from him at a restaurant to the Navajo elder, and the great horned owl to the spiny cholla cactus, he cares about it all.” He was a founder of the Black Mesa Defence Fund.

By Jack Loeffler:
Headed Into the Wind: A Memoir; Survival Along the Continental Divide: An Anthology of Interviews; Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest; Adventures with Ed; La música de los viejitos: Hispano Folk Music of the Río Grande del Norte; Healing the West: Voices of Culture and Habitat; Headed Upstream, Interviews With Iconoclasts; Thinking Like a Watershed: Voices from the West; & a lot of radio shows (about 400). He has recorded 3-4,000 folk songs and his recordings of indigenous peoples, songs, stories, and interviews with many activists, musicians, and the places themselves as soundscapes are now available from the Smithsonian and at the Museum of New Mexico.

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