Saturday, October 10, 2009

Missing John Denver

Today I am stuck in Ha Noi, Viet Nam a humid, smoky city in early autumn as rice paddies surrounding the city are undergoing their end of season burn-off. I am in Viet Nam working on the Bear Farming Program of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). There are 4000 beautiful Asian moon bears and sun bears in captivity in Viet Nam, many of which are still illegally tapped for bile in the most horrible conditions you can imagine. Although we are working hard to rescue them and get many of them into sanctuaries, it is still very sad and depressing work. And being alone here with my partner at home in Bangkok, I am having the Sunday blues.


Suddenly, for whatever reason I have no idea, John Denver's song, I Guess he'd rather be in Colorado popped into my head.

I went to youtube and found the above music video and remembered that tomorrow is the anniversary of John Denver's death in 1997. I cried. I miss him and his music a lot. No one has ever since come along and filled his shoes, and sung for the forests and the animals the way he did. His songs of longing for the wilderness and for quiet, solitude and beauty of nature have stirred my heart and soul since I was a boy.

While I love the work I do in Asia and Africa to help animals and people, all the suffering gets to me sometimes, and in my heart I long for the days of my youth running barefoot along the Great Sacandaga River in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York. The beautiful fall colours at this time of year. Thanksgiving. The wonderful family, most of whom are gone or like me scattered on the wind.


I miss the time I spent at university in Missoula Montana, and Eugene Oregon, running around the northern Rocky Mountains and Cascade Mountains carefree and having the time of life. The summers I would roam up into Canada and Alaska or across the pond in the Arctic of Norway and Sweden. Those were the days!!

Somehow John Denver's music can bring it all back to my mind and soul in both a sad and longing way, but also in a comforting and warm way. Sometimes though, I wished I could have grown old with him and his music. That he would have kept on writing and singing those great songs until we were both old and grey. But alas, it was not meant to be, but his songs will always be there to rescue me in times like today and give me courage and strength to keep fighting for the bears and any other animal that needs help.

Anyway, enough of my overly tragic sentimentality. Raise a glass of the best brew to John Denver tomorrow on the anniversary of his death. We miss you John and thanks for the music that will live fore

And Remember our beautiful friends the bears!!


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Best wishes

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