When the time comes to die, I’ll find the wildest, loneliest, most desolate spot there is. July 12, 1933 to Waldo Reuss, from Chinle, Arizona.
In Dave Alvins song about Everett, he wrote, “They’ll never find my body, boys, or understand my mind.”
But they did find his body, and, to me, I think it’s a shame. Everett Ruess was a true wise man. Though he died at the age of twenty, he left wisdom for the ages. He drew pictures, wrote poetry, and disdained city life. He was born to wonder the southwest, making friends everywhere he went. His body should have been left where it lie, near Comb Ridge, in Utah. Such was the mystique about his life and death, that to exhume his body for DNA testing smacks of a sacrilege.
One of his poems:
Onward from vast uncharted spaces,
Forward through timeless voids,
Into all of us surges and races
The measureless might of the wind. […]
In the steep silence of thin blue air
High on a lonely cliff-ledge,
Where the air has a clear, clean rarity,
I give to the wind…my pledge:
”By the strength of my arm, by the sight of my eyes,
By the skill of my fingers, I swear,
As long as life dwells in me, never will I
Follow any way but the sweeping way of the wind.”