Stay together, learn the flowers, go light

Me and Gary Snyder, City Lights Books, October 24, 2004
Me and Gary Snyder, City Lights Books, October 2004

A new documentary features Gary Snyder and Jim Harrison wandering around California’s Central Coast talking about poetry, art, Zen and God:

This film, borrowing its name from one of Snyder’s most eloquent non-fiction books, revolves around a life-long conversation between Snyder and his fellow poet and novelist Jim Harrison. These two old friends and venerated men of American letters converse while taking a wilderness trek along the central California coast in an area that has been untouched for centuries. They debate the pros and cons of everything from Google to Zen koans. The discussions are punctuated by archival materials and commentaries from Snyder friends, observers, and intimates who take us through the ‘Beat’ years, the years of Zen study in Japan up to the present — where Snyder continues to be a powerful spokesperson for ecological sanity and bio-regionalism.

You can keep up-to-date on the film (and hopefully showings around the country after its premiere in San Francisco in May or at least a DVD release) by becoming a fan on Facebook.

It also appears that there is a book coming out to accompany the film, The Etiquette of Freedom: Gary Snyder, Jim Harrison, and The Practice of the Wild.

And here are some excerpts from both authors:

— Jim Harrison, from The Road Home

For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
stay together
learn the flowers
go light

— Gary Snyder, from Turtle Island

Read about the time Katie and I met Gary Snyder on our honeymoon in San Francisco.

Katie and me with Gary Snyder
Katie and me with Gary Snyder


  1. Sharon Fidler says

    I’ve been married and raising childrn, living my life by these words for 44 years. Stay together, learn the flowers, go light: All I needed until now, when my husband left me. I still believe these words are right and am so sorry that we have failed the philosophy. I worry that seven generations will suffer.

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