Artists sometimes feel the need to withdraw from the distractions of modern society. They pull away from friends, home and family for introspection, insight and inspiration. Seeking spiritual guidance, they retreat into total isolation...voluntary exile.
Looked on as a period of suffering, self-denial, paying their dues. Some can't cope, returning with their work unfinished, eager to rejoin the mind-numbing rat race. Others come back reluctantly with insightful art or spiritual revelations. On rare occasions, even a masterpiece to be an inspiration for future generations.
And then what. Their spiritual revelations may last for a month, 6 months. A year. During which they hold workshops to try and recapture those fleeting, but now lost experiences.
Environmental writers can produce magnificent prose in which they whine and moan about the sad and deteriorating state of our environment, but do nothing to change that state. They then hold more workshops proudly proclaiming what depressed, miserable persons they are due to the destruction of the land. where they can then teach others to whine and moan, and do nothing.
Fortunately for the land, these are not the only artists. There is a group, who, because of the environmental poisons brought about by modern technology, go into 'non-voluntary exile'. Permanently. They withdraw, not for some spiritual revelation or emotional insight, but so they can survive, breathe and be free of the excruciating pain caused by so-called civilized society.
They are forced to live in remote, isolated locations, but in doing so they thrive. Developing an intimate relationship with the land. They are not there to take, but to give back to the land that sustains them. And the land responds. Singing through wildflowers on mist shrouded mountains. Shouting in howling winds. Whispering in the cold, white stillness of a fresh snowfall. Feeding their souls. Giving spiritual renewal, restored health. They are the Desde la Terra artists. On the land, from the land, for the benefit of the land. They care for the land that cares for them. Preserving, restoring, helping the land to heal from the abuses of mankind. Not withdrawing from life and living, but participating in carefully selected community events-active, involved, contributing, alive.
So the next time you take a little break from the daily grind to venture into the great outdoors to enjoy a peek at nature, and don't see trash, invasive weeds, or tracks and destruction left by ORV's, but a healthy, pristine landscape, thank a Land Steward. We were probably there.