The Fan Hitch   Volume 16, Number 3, June 2014

          Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog                                    
In This Issue....

From the Editor: On the Radar

Citizen Scientist Participation Requested

On the Trail of the Far Fur Country

Dealing with a Runaway or Breakaway Team of Inuit Dogs

The Chinook Project Returns to Labrador

Website Explores Indigenous People of the Russian Arctic

Book Review: Harnessed to the Pole: Sledge Dogs in Service to American Explorers of the Arctic, 1853-1909

IMHO: What’s Enough?

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Defining the Inuit Dog

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

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Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
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The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog.

Whiskers, Bill Carpenter’s smartest lead dog ever, looking down from atop
"slush bergs" which form in the late Fall when slush and water splash up to
create what look like mini-icebergs; on Great Slave Lake at Moraine Point.
                                                                                  Photo: Carpenter

What’s Enough?

by Mark Hamilton

Jack said we’d come to hate the stuff…and Jack was right. He was in the position to know. The little wing-bark euonymus seedlings we were taking home 30+ years ago were from his shrubs. Jack was a knowledgeable fellow, a retired automotive engineer, sailing buff and world traveler. He laughed at our concerns that the bare root seedlings wouldn't survive the 90 minute ride home ("You can't kill this stuff") and he promised us we'd come to hate it because of the plant’s constant need to be pruned back, hacked off and ripped out. Jack was smart… and Jack was right!

Over these past several weeks we've been pruning back two euonymus shrubs in particular. One is finally down to the height we want and now only needs to have its circumference reduced by 10-15%. The second shrub was obscuring our view into a small forest glade we have been developing over a number of years. First we reduced that shrub’s height by 30%. Then we pruned off everything that went either straight up or drooped downward toward the ground. Finally we cut back its diameter by a good 20%. At that point Sue said something to the effect that while she still hated it, it was finally an interesting shrub. We also remarked how much easier it was to see into that glade and how much we liked that. I mentioned how I thought our view would be better still if the thing wasn't there at all. Sue responded that she’d like to see it gone as well. Next morning, in the rain, I yanked the shrub out of the ground with a chain and the truck.

But Jack was right about not being able to kill this stuff. There were enough roots left in the ground that we'll be pulling out new euonymus starts from our myrtle patch for as long as we live or at least as long as we are able or care. The shrub may be gone but ultimately the euonymus will win. For right now we have our view but Nature’s way is to reclaim anything we claim but fail to maintain. It’s inevitable - we can’t win this war. Logic raises the question: If we know we can’t win why choose to fight in the first place?

You don’t need to be able to win to make such a struggle worthwhile. Certainly we can and will win the battle for now and also for some time to come into the future. And, by the way, who ever advanced the idea that logic had anything to do with entering into any war? As long as we’re willing and able, we can keep and even improve upon our little glade and our view. For us this is enough. We know this to be worth our efforts. We engage in this war willingly and happily.

Knowing what’s enough is, I believe, important to people’s happiness as well as their mental health. As my evidence to this I point you toward some review of the record of the human race down through history. Our history is filled with stories of people who had no concept of what was enough. Those stories reside in our history books. Few of them are happy or end well for all concerned.

Understanding we can win the battle for now is the exact reason we engage, along with all of you, in seeking to preserve the Inuit Sled Dog. We know this to be worth our efforts. We recognize it has value. We want to pass it along to the generations that follow us. This is something we can do. It’s enough.
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