Life is like a winding pathway.
Who can tell what lies ahead?
Will it lead to shady pastures,
Or to wilderness instead?
--Lutheran Hymnal

Sherwood is going two directions at once. The same people who favor rapid economic growth favor restoration of the natural environment.

The Hebrew Prophet Isaiah supported the opinion of many of my fellow townsmen when he preached that the best thing for the Wilderness is to build a freeway through it wide enoughto carry all the traffic of the civilized world at that time, making sure to level every mountain,raise every valley, and straighten every crookedplace that gets in the way. (Isaiah 40)

However, famous voices were raised on the other side in support to the "wilderness concept." According to Jonathan Swift, the ancient poet Horace advised his countrymen "to leave their city and seek a new seat in some remote part of the world by way of finding a cure for the corruption of their manners."

One Roman citizen who followed Horace's advice was St. Jerome, who went to the wilderness only to discover that it was already inhabited by followers of a still more ancient poet (Jeremiah 31).

Still there are plenty of other historically significant people who visited the wilderness and came away with less than favorable opinions of it. Doctor Francois Rabelais for example could only speak in favor of "felling the great trees... demolishing the dark forests, the haunts of wolves, wild boar and foxes, the dens of brigands and murderers,the lurking places of assassins, the workshops of forgers, the retreats of heretics." The Englishman John Bunyan agreed, but his was a very different wilderness. Bunyan's wilderness was inside his head. He carried it with him everywhere he went. Here's what the Encylopedia says about John Bunyan and his wilderness: "The odious practice of churchbell ringing he renounced; but he still for a time ventured to go to the churchtower and look on while others pulled the ropes. But soon the thought struck him that, if he persisted in such wickedness, the steeple would fall on his head."

Other Works by Clyde ListWilderness Instead
by Clyde List
Bunyan wrote Pilgrim's Progress, an enormouslypopular book in its day. Many of our own Americanpioneers carried a copy of Pilgrim's Progress withthem as a sort of guide book to the Oregon Trail(which explains why there are so many places like"Heartbreak Ridge" and "Disappointment Bay" to befound on our roadmaps).

There was one other book to which our pioneerfamilies used to cling, from which they claimed toreceive much comfort and direction but which is hardlyever read anymore and which I only bring up here becauseof its many unique and colorful descriptions of thenatural habitat. The section in it by Matthew forinstance reports that Jesus Christ was one time "ledup by the Spirit" into the wilderness where He fastedforty days and forty nights. He also ran into a Scripturequoting Devil there and had a sparing match with Him.After winning hands down Jesus went back to his astonishedgroup of supporters and said, "What did you go outinto the wilderness to see? A reed blowing in the wind?"

A fair question to pose even today to scientists coming to visit our biologically diverse Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge