Forgive my mawkishness, Harry

by Andrea Elizabeth

The River of No Return documentary was made when Isaac Babcock, who had studied the wolves for 13 years, took his new bride to the largest designated wilderness in America in central Idaho. Spoiler alert. She had just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and became more debilitated during their year of camping/honeymoon. Towards the end, before they cut it short, they filmed an injured elk hobbling along by herself. As night fell, she appeared silhouetted on the horizon of a nearby ridge with another elk standing between her and the approaching wolves. They both made it thought the night. Later, a stranded deer wasn’t so fortunate as to have such a companion. Neither Isaac nor Bjornen wanted to leave this beautiful, if savage place, but he couldn’t stand to watch his wife suffering.

It reminds me of the documentary I wrote about a few years ago about the people who left their island north of Scotland when disease threatened their children and their primitive 1000 year old lifestyle didn’t seem sustainable when cures were on the mainland. Modern healthcare comes with a terrible price. It costs you paradise. In one way it can be likened to Christ leaving paradise to save us.

But in another, it highlights the terrible cost of staying in paradise. Wolves were just reintroduced because it was determined that nature needed this balance. When the pioneers first tried to settle this area, who were forced out when it was designated a wilderness, only the strong survived. The weak died early. It’s almost as if the weak deer wanted us to know what it’s like. If it should have been saved at all costs, the wolves shouldn’t have been reintroduced. People determined it was worth it to have the deer give up their lives so that new things could grow. But we can’t countenance letting a person die for that reason. She actually didn’t want to leave though. He made her.

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