When my son was little he lived two lives, one the small, tender and ignorant child whom he was, and the other an imaginary warrior, a hero, tireless, invincible and feared. Little boys shift easily from one existence to the other, live equally in this world and the other, the world of cold fact and the warm imaginary world which underlies it and makes it bearable. Continue reading

Of Terror

It was not really surprising but, well, disappointing to hear that I’d been called an “eco-terrorist” by one of my fellow Umpquans. The news was second-hand, of course, which somehow made it worse. Whoever pronounced the judgment, whether she or he, hadn’t bothered to tell me about it, but let it slip, off-hand, as if it were a well-known fact.

“Him? He’s an eco-terrorist,” as though there was nothing more that need be said, as though I had it printed on my business card, “Bob Heilman, Eco-terrorist.” Continue reading

The Enemy Among Us Or The Enemy Within?

“It is easier to love mankind as a whole than to love one’s neighbor.”—Eric Hoffer

Two years ago I was at Shasta Lake, waiting on a dock with some time to kill when I met a woman from Klamath Falls. Since we were both away from home, our conversation soon turned to Oregon and the old growth timber debate between the environmentalists and the industrialists. Continue reading

Why We Celebrate

We made our three-hundred-and-sixty-third, and final, monthly land payment just a few weeks ago. Well, actually, I puttered about in the kitchen while my sagacious wife, Diane, wrote out the check and addressed the envelope. It was a good feeling to know that after thirty years and three months—a full third of a century—the old shack by the railroad tracks and two acres of serpentine soil was wholly ours. Seeing her sitting there at the dining-room table two thoughts occurred to me nearly at the same moment. Continue reading

Of Flower Power And The War With The Newts

The Speaker has said that he wants to undo the effects of the 1960’s hip counterculture on American civilization and no one he’s talked to lately knows enough about the era to laugh in his face. Believe me, the stone-cold hippie of old would have found the notion hysterical—yet more proof that the cosmos really does have a sense of humor. Apparently, Newt Gingrich and a lot of other “Mr. Jones” types just weren’t in on the joke. Continue reading