A Place Worth Fighting For
Colin Chisholm’s emotive plea for restraint in the development of the Squaw Valley ski area is particularly poignant and compelling. The power of the piece is found in his dramatic and impassioned scene setting. He cleverly intertwines the imagery of the valley with endearing anecdotes of the time he and his family spent there establishing a subconscious link between the two main focuses of the piece.
By the time Chisholm begins to develop the conflict in the story, the relationship between the valley and his family has been established. He wants the reader to associate the fate of the forest with that of his mother and father. On page 79, Chisholm writes, “…during the time we were losing the meadow, we found out that my mother had cancer.” Chisholm doesn’t even expand his explanation of the disease that has invaded his mother’s body. He doesn’t have to. He has already described his mother as a beautiful woman of Eskimo descent and Chisholm’s writing powerfully understates the tragedy.
The devastation of the Squaw Valley region paralleled a time of great sadness in Colin Chisholm’s life and gives him a unique, and compelling activist voice. His advocacy comes across not as radical environmentalism but more appropriately, as a man trying to preserve the fond memories of his family. His clever scene setting gives life and personality to the Squaw Valley region. This personification-of-sorts allows people who can not relate to Chisholm’s love for the outdoors, to associate with the emotions he felt for his mother’s falls and his father’s meadow. He is hoping that, at the very least, these individuals might understand where he and others are coming from in their pursuit to save Squaw.