Ken Ilgunas takes the reader on a road of discovery and wonder! Why would someone in their right mind want to journey across North America following a pipeline? I assure you that I am pretty sure that Ilgunas was in the right frame of mind when he set out across America on this incredible journey to meet the people and places that would be and already were affected by the Keystone XL.
There are times that you are on the edge of your seat hoping for his safety, while at the same time having an inner desire to be out there with him. He does not announce to those that he encounters that he is not in favor of the Keystone XL, for the fear of possibly being kicked out of town or even being shot. The fact that his journey could be considered illegal at times, since he crosses many barbed wire fences and walked along where the pipeline was planned to be laid, heightens the excitement. He follows the original Keystone for a while as the proposed Keystone XL would have followed along the same path. Fortunately in November of 2015 the final phase of the pipeline was denied.
As Algunas set out on this journey his goal to meet people along the way and hear their stories was fulfilled. Some that were very dependent upon the pipeline as well as those that were strictly opposed to it. At one point he mentions that he does not consider himself Christian, or of any particular faith. However, one person he meets mentions that he sees the light in him. I do as well, as his care for creation and concern for its well-being is very apparent. His concern for others and willingness to listen also shows his deep concern and caring for others. He makes the comment, “To travel alone, I’d learned, isn’t to rely on yourself. to travel alone is to force yourself to depend on others. It is to fall in love with mankind.”
He was shown that love in return by those willing to let him camp in their front yards, stay in their churches, and welcome him with a warm meal. A great journey that eventually comes to a physical end, leaving the reader, and writer, to ask what’s next?
*Thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy