There is a stop sign that makes me smile.  I pass it every day as I drive to work.  The first time I noticed its message I caught my breath and stopped for an extra moment, looking at it with wonder.  Two words have been spray-painted on the sign, transforming it from a street signal to a simple command that people seem to so easily forget:


In my hometown there are other spray-painted stop signs.  In high school I’d feel strangely justified when I’d pass the ones that read STOP BUSH.  Now that he is out of office, I’ve seen another sign that says STOP OBAMA, and I felt perplexed and a little sad.  It seems that whoever is President, someone wants to stop them.  There are those who put all there energy toward the things they do not want in this world, but I have found this practice only magnifies the problems at hand.

Edward Abbey, a great environmental writer, said in an interview with Mother Earth News that “No one should be a full-time crusader for anything.  I’ve found that it’s best to be a half-time crusader, a part-time fanatic, and to save the rest of the time to try to maintain my sense of humor and my emotional balance.”  He believed in enjoying what it is you are fighting for–if you want to save the wilderness, don’t forget to go out and enjoy it while you can; if you want to change the policies of the US, take time to enjoy the pieces that you love right now.  If nothing else, you will find a peace that comes with joy and the celebration of a thing you love.

This stop sign message is simpler than that, though.  It does not tell what to love, or how much to love, but just to continue to love.  It is the most powerful thing one person can do.