Jim Corbett and Saguaro Juniper
This page is devoted to the memory of Jim, emphasizing his efforts during the last years of his life in organizing and pursuing ecological projects in the Sonoran/Chihuahuan Desert region, including formation and development of several incorporated groups -- first, the Goat and Garden Group (1981), then Saguaro Juniper Corporation (1988) and the Cascabel Hermitage Association (1996). This page will develop as a work in progress. After a quotation from his own work, we begin with our own account of Jim's death, followed by links first to copies of a number of his obituaries published in local, regional, national, and international newspapers (which mostly recount his work in the Sanctuary Movement), second to an essay that elaborates his ecological ideas and his San Pedro River efforts, and further essays will be included from time to time.
"Before going to the San Francisco Bay Area and turning Quaker, when I withdrew to the Black Bear slope of Miller Peak, I considered fitting in -- finding something to do that would pay better and be more respectable than cowboying or sheepherding. (In college, I'd planned to become a philosophy teacher, but the main thing I learned from studying philosophy was that I knew nothing to teach.) Mulling it over, I saw that I was really concerned with doing something notable with my life. When I sorted it out, I made a memo to myself:
Life is just a moment, they say. One's name must be carved deep into history's bedrock, to last a moment longer through time's endless erosion, they say.
On the prairie, when the wind wails a dirge and snow sifts in rivulets through the sagebrush, I've hugged the sticky-pink, death-chilled body of a newborn lamb under my coat, and its heart fluttered in reply.
And on a desert mountain, amidst the hush of soaring granite, I've opened a forgotten spring. The few who remembered thought it had long ago gone dry, but I found the hidden place and dug down until a stream ran clear and cold in the summer sun.So what are epitaphs to me? Still in my twenties, I could already write as good a remembrance as any I could imagine for myself at ninety: 'He kept a lamb or two from freezing, he found and opened a forgotten spring.' " (Jim, in Goatwalking, 1991, New York: Viking Penguin Press, pp. 12-13.)
In 1987, when Jim was proposing a group purchase of 135 acres of land newly up for sale in the ecologically vulnerable center of Hot Springs Canyon, he asked us, "What would you say if I told you about a place where a juniper is a nurse tree for a Saguaro?"
The Death of Jim Corbett, a Founder of Saguaro Juniper
Jim died at El Potrero, Cascabel Arizona, on Thursday, August 2, 2001, at about 7 am.
Jim was putting the finishing touches on a new book when he died. He entitled it "Cowbalah", a friendly pun on his Judeo-Quaker pastoralism. It is in some regards a follow-up to his previous book Goatwalking(1991, Viking Penguin), as well as reflective of his interests after working in the sanctuary movement. The book has now been published under the title "Sanctuary for All Life"
For more details about the book, see this link:
(Click on the links indicated below to open these pages)
The Nature Conservancy's tribute for Jim
Below:Jim at Quaker meeting July 29 2001
Below: at a Saguaro Juniper meeting in 1996.
Below: Talking with USDA officials about how to rebuild the Diversion Tank, July 24, 1998