Time to Say Goodbye
In concluding, allow me to get personal and address why I would write this book at all. You can blame it on the US Forest Service. I fell in love with forests as a kid. My parents lived in a suburb where their back fence was adjacent to the woods. As a kid, I was over the fence and off into a live oak forest. From my parents’ home, in a world long gone, I could hitchhike up to Kings Mountain, 20 minutes out, and be in the redwoods at 2,000 feet in elevation. That’s where I live and have for more than a third of a century. But as a kid, I saw myself living and working in the woods always, as a forester. I went to forestry school because I loved trees.
A summer job pulling chain for a US Forest Service survey crew convinced me I’d never, ever work for the government under any circumstances. And today, forestry is almost always either working for or with the government in one way or another or against the government. That summer taught me everything about government employment is oppressive. What I knew was that I simply didn’t want to have anything to do with the government. I also knew right then, for the same reason, I’d never be a career politician because it, too, meant working for the government. Might have saved my mortal soul. Somehow I hoped I had something better to do with my life. With no sense of what to do next, I switched majors to economics because I’d been good at it earlier.
Forests still jazz me—redwoods in particular. In fact, I’m ...