The National Park System is America’s perfect excuse. It’s an excuse to get off the fucking couch, to drive for hours while having insightful conversations with old and new friends. It’s an excuse to skip showers, to pee in bottles ‘cause you don’t want to stop the car. It’s an excuse to shell out 60 bucks to stay at a sketchy tweaker motel, or to stop at a Walmart in the middle of nowhere to buy bug spray. It’s an excuse to call in sick on Monday because you want to see one more sunset behind the mountains. It’s an excuse to keep photos of your ex-girlfriends, to buy Kodak film even though it’s not vegan. It’s an excuse to wear obscenely short swimming trunks or spend $100 on a vintage one-piece. It’s an excuse to drink Coors or Miller or Budweiser, because you can’t find a decent IPA that comes in a can. It’s an excuse to call someone you haven’t spoken to in years to score weed while in Wyoming, ‘cause you don’t want to get caught with your own stash at the agricultural inspection. It’s an excuse to take a deep breath, to wake up at dawn to do Warrior Pose. It’s an excuse to buy a folding chair and to make up your own constellations, because you don’t know any besides the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt. It’s an excuse to stop in a tiny town to get lip balm or an air freshener. It’s an excuse to wave or smile at the person next to you while you share a moment in awe of a natural water feature. It’s an excuse to fall in love with someone you just met, or with yourself.
The National Park System is love, it’s longing, it’s addiction… it’s life.
It’s easy for us to take it for granted because we didn’t have to fight for it. Our generation was born with the park system, and hopefully it will be here for the next, but not without a fight. Vested interests would love to drill, frack, tap, or graze it, and they are paying off lots of lobbyists to do so. So next time you see a Sequoia, or a Redwood, or a Joshua Tree, or a Saguaro, don’t forget these things can easily be taken away if we don’t fight back. Anyone who has truly been in love knows it’s a constant battle.