• 400feetdown


It all comes down to the roll.  Let me explain. When I am out on my mountain bike scooter (google Diggler Dirt Dawg) it’s all about the roll. No gears.  You push up the hills and glide down the backside. When you go at night and you don’t turn on your headlamp, all you feel is the roll, the bumps, the berms.  Your peripheral vision is just about useless. You are feeling your way through the forest on a nigh invisible slightly brighter pathway than the forest around you. I was on singletrack tonight. I didn’t use my headlamp but maybe for 5 minutes out of my 1 hour push kick adventure.

I went out tonight to clear my head for the editing I have to do tonight on 400 Feet Down. This week there are two screenings in locations that will likely be a bit louder than a movie theater.  So I am adding in closed captions. I used but what I got back is going to need a lot of editing. And to be honest, I am weary of editing 400 Feet Down. I am so so so weary of editing it.  But in these venues there is likely to be a lot of crosstalk, maybe some outdoor traffic noise or food truck cooking sizzle sounds to compete with. So subtitles are essential. After those two screenings I am then doing a private screening at a retirement facility for a presumably much older audience.  And so yeah...subtitles are happening whether I am weary of editing or not.

I needed inspiration though to gear up and open up that Premiere Pro file one more time.  I needed a reminder of why it is that I took this project on in the first place.

When you are bombing down singletrack that is technical, in the dark, barefooted, without a helmet, without a headlamp...that’s my “why”.  We live in a flattened world. A paved world. Increasingly it is a treeless world. Wild places are endangered. Our chance to be wild is endangered. Wooded places where I can have an adventure like this are harder and harder to find.  Why am I out there endangering my life at 9 PM at night? Why don’t I care if I fall and get injured? I do care. But in the rest of the flat paved world, what are my chances of having anything that comes close to this danger?  How and where will any sense of adventure come from? Out on the trail tonight the world narrowed down to the sound of my tires rolling, my breathing, my barefeet taking turns pushing off of stone, fallen logs, pine needle bedding.  My arms and shoulder aching while pushing up long hills.

Why did I make 400 Feet Down?  Because I need balance. And nothing brings balance more than the natural world.  I can't use our few remaining wild places without giving back to them. Without them what would I do? Without a place to be wild, what then?

“In wildness is the preservation of the world”-Henry David Thoreau. Dude knew what he was talking about it.  A quarry has never once brought balance into this world. A quarry has never once preserved anything, other than creating a supply of materials that pave over the wildness we all need.  We are so accustomed to living in our cars, surrounded by concrete that we include the ongoing need for more quarries as a foregone conclusion. I do not. I foresee a world where must be cutting back drastically on the need for quarries. That's the only sane path forward.

But I have a strong hunch that if any of the quarry supporters spent a night walking or biking the trails on 286, they’d be pressed to question how 100 acres of stone quarry represents the preservation of the world.

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