Pledge to the Wind

Onward from vast uncharted spaces,
Forward through timeless voids,
Into all of us surges and races
The measureless might of the wind. […]

In the steep silence of thin blue air
High on a lonely cliff-ledge,
Where the air has a clear, clean rarity,
I give to the wind…my pledge:

”By the strength of my arm, by the sight of my eyes,
By the skill of my fingers, I swear,
As long as life dwells in me, never will I
Follow any way but the sweeping way of the wind.”

— Everett Ruess, born this day in 1914, wrote this poem when he was a 15-year-old student at Hollywood High School in LA.  “Everett found the deserts of the Southwest by far a better school for the poet than UCLA, where his father was a professor: ‘How could a lofty, unconquerable soul like mine remain imprisoned in that academic backwater?’”

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At the tender age of 20, Everett disappeared on a solo hike in Utah in 1934, and his short life became an instant legend.  Did he fall from a remote rock, or was he killed by native Americans?  Did he live out his life in the mountains, or return to civilization under an assumed identity?

 

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