A canine friend and a two-legged friend and I are checking out an area not so far from the overcrowded tourist hellhole of Moab, UT. This place is so uncrowded that it is almost funny.
How do you explain this? It has wonderful physical assets, not just in terms of "Wow," but also in terms of variety. But as I said before, it is uncrowdedness that really counts in modern America. Perhaps it is blessed with scenery that is just short of being a national park. That means it lacks the razzle-dazzle to get on the bucket list of millions of idiot-tourists. This area is like a picturesque mountain in Colorado that is 13,950 feet high.
The town doesn't really have a bicycle culture, but it could. In fact it has built its first mountain bike singletrack close to town. It has a hip coffee shop. Of course, with mountain bikers being the besotted sybarites that they are, the town probably needs a microbrewery.
Tomorrow we will ride that trail. It doesn't seem to have many customers. But I feel compelled to ride it. And I was wondering why.
Is it because this is an example of something that is getting better instead of worse?
Or is it the poignance of the idealists who are behind the building of this first mountain bike trail? Who came up with the idea? Do they feel disappointed that the world hasn't immediately rewarded their idea with acclaim and popularity?
How do they keep pushing in the right direction despite the discouragement? Are they compensated for their pains by a pathetic romance of being an 'unrecognized genius, years ahead of their time?'
Perhaps they subscribe to an overarching viewpoint that makes them feel success is assured, even if it takes awhile.
This is an example of what William James wrote about in the essays I quoted in an earlier post, "Summiting: Ideals and Suffering." In a single sentence he thought that the meaning of life comes from struggle and suffering in the pursuit of a noble ideal.
I do get a bit nervous about thoughts like that, because it smacks of altruism and self-sacrifice, and a part of me clings to Ayn Rand's idea that self-sacrifice is just medicine aimed at curing the disease of self-loathing.
So I don't claim to have a neatly packaged answer to these questions. For the moment, let it suffice to ignore myself, and try to take an objective interest in the sheer beauty of the practical idealism that some locals have demonstrated here.