Download e-book for kindle: Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West by John Hales

By John Hales

ISBN-10: 0826216161

ISBN-13: 9780826216168

ISBN-10: 0826264956

ISBN-13: 9780826264954


taking pictures Polaris is John Hales’s attention-grabbing and far-reaching account of operating as a central authority surveyor within the southern Utah wasteland. In it, he describes his look for a spot within the wildlife, starting with a day spent monitoring down a misplaced staff member who cracked up at the task and concluding together with his supervising a gaggle of at-risk little ones on a backpacking journey within the Escalante barren region. In among, he depicts a number of reviews in and out of doors nature, together with antagonistic barroom encounters among surveyors and travelers, weekends spent mountain climbing Navajo Mountain and floating what is still of Glen Canyon, and late-night arguments in regards to the which means and function of nature with the eccentric polygamist who ran town during which the surveyors parked their bunk trailers.   
            even supposing this paintings is autobiographical, taking pictures Polaris is a lot more. it's a mirrored image on man’s dating to nature and paintings, American background and the circulate into the West, the need to impose order and the opposite impulse for unmediated event, the idealistic legacy of the sixties, the effect of the Mormon Church, and the often-antagonistic courting of yank capitalism to sound ecological administration. alongside the way in which, Hales introduces enticing characters and divulges the artwork, technological know-how, and heritage of surveying, an exercise that seems to be unusually profound.

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Extra info for Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West

Example text

To Jefferson, and others of like mind on the committee of the Continental Congress he chaired, metes and bounds surveys represented abject surrender to the caprice of topographical nature. His plan was to straighten up the dangerous clutter of wilderness by surveying the West into a grid that connected the nascent American empire with the mathematical equations and underlying linearity that defined true, universal, capital-N Nature, while at the same time inscribing an actual grid on the American landscape, a net of intersecting straight lines that would partition the wilderness into orderly square-mile sections.

He’d joined the circle around the bowls of chips and beans and the plate of buttons and had partaken of the food that helped the others get the peyote down their not completely cooperative throats, and he’d tried to stay with his fellow surveyors even as they departed into transcendence. I formed a picture in my mind of Tim walking 26 Shooting Polaris alongside a departing train, waving goodbye as it left the station, understanding that he’d chosen to not buy a ticket but feeling just a little abandoned just the same.

This kind of display wasn’t unusual. The Utah landscape has always been regarded by its colonizers as an insufficiently stretched canvas upon which to paint the outlines of the New Jerusalem, and every mountainside above every Utah town is still marked with an oversized capital letter representing the local high school. S. government for a half century, this was after all the first opportunity for Mormon boys to fight alongside the Feds), who would stop him? The canyon walls were already crowded with pictographs painted and chiseled by citizens of the long-departed Frémont culture, themselves probably not the first inhabitants of our township, markings that, in addition to representing the sun and moon, might well be translated as some kind of Neolithic call to arms, an indigenous version of the stars and stripes, a pre-Columbian statement of nationalistic fervor, perhaps even the prehistoric equivalent of a survey marker.

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Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West by John Hales

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