Tuesday, December 26, 2006

James Brown.
The Minister of The New New Super Heavy Funk and the Hardest Working Man in Show Business.
God rest his Hard-Working Soul.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

"I'm a bean counter," said Hillier, "This gets me out from behind my desk and outside."
Check out the article and see how Hillier the "bean counter" handles the wild gets outside with the animals that his government agency is entrusted with.
His little gem is near the end of the article.
Ho boy, I'm not sure how much more of this sort of thing I can take.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Is George Bush going to be pushed into change by the political currents underway in Washington?
Here is a short analysis from Salon on the Iraq Study Group.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

“We used to go up there and dress up and be gorgeous...”
The penthouse of the Hotel Pierre, overlooking Central Park, is up for sale for a mere $70 million. Make an offer and invite me to your party, okedoke?

Friday, December 1, 2006

Mexico's latest "Neofascist Oligarchy." One in a line of such oligarchies all over the modern "democratic" world, I'd say.
Sleep the sleep of death, fellow materialists, sleep on.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Our species was trained up on a certain brand of cooperation between individuals of clans or tribes, and so it remains to this day. At the core of our being is a need to be social, even for those who insist on being solitary or even anti-social.
I reckon that even those who hate other people so much as to act out in hurtful or even violent ways are acting on a hard-wired urge to interact, though on a dysfunctional level.
As a teacher of "at-risk" youth, I've watched a couple of generations of teenagers go through their phases of group-enabled and codified rebellion; the collective aspects of their deep will to seek antisocial pleasure with a bunch of friends is a wonder to behold. One can extend the strangeness of collective will from the small to the very largest group.
In our little town, the collective glue that welds the greater community together is the LDS church, both socially and religiously. Some are members of the church for only social and traditional reasons, much like any other religion. In my observation, those more secular reasons are at least as important as those spiritual and religious.
One who dedicates themself to the life of an active member of an LDS community is given over to much sacrifice and, at least on an outward level, service. Such a person teaches, works, collaborates, studys and worships together. They profess a common framework of beliefs and subject themselves to a mutual organization of authority. The social benefits of cleaving to the group are many and when one is unable for one reason or another to do so, the sanctions can be felt on many levels, some not readily observable or fully understandable.
Those sanctions and those who sanction are difficult to deal with. Nevertheless, as I ruminate on those who mete out the often subtle sanctions to those who stray from or resist subjugation to the church, I have a very rough time condemning them for their actions and attitudes. Their behavior stems from the same deep seated social inheritances that enable religious and other benevolent institutions. They don’t mean to be exclusive or mean, they are only attempting to conserve the finite social and real means of the collective for those who exhibit behavior befitting belief and membership. It’s truly difficult to love the enemy within the community; they are those who might waste the community trust.
It doesn’t make those who find themselves outside of the church feel much better, but it is likely how they act toward those within the church, in one way or another. The same instinct toward conserving the bulwarks of the church preserves those on the outside of the church, as well.
What can be done to bring us together? I don’t know. Logic extends this situation within our little burg to the greater problems in our nation and world. The same instincts that preserve our communities and hence, our species seem to condemn it to perpetual war and fervor or apathy toward those who would wage it. We only seek to preserve the stasis of permanence perceived within local and extended communities.

Monday, November 6, 2006

A description of the day in Haiku:

A drive to Salt Lake
a long trip made longer still-
lack of desire.

partly a success:
the Springbar will be fixed
end of November.

Nice carpenters with
lucrative contracts in Driggs
too involved to help me.

people drove me mad
rushing hurriedly around
I did what I needed.

Not eating 'til late
head pounding, blurry vision
silly me, sick boy.

moving here and there
No people, just possessions
I limped home at dark.

Not the best caesuras or other traditional form, but hell. This isn't the academy of the farging arts.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, things keep happening.
A warning: this is some bad-ass, crazy good writing about the awful things that we keep happening to ourselves..

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Early in the morning, as Orion and the Pleiades fade from the their course in the western sky, there aren't many people stirring. While the mountains and their residents awaken with song and different sorts of silence, the humans are begrudgingly rising from their bedclothes with bleary eyes and muttered curses.
I've been outside for weeks at a time in the mountains and deserts of Utah and Wyoming, and one thing that I've noticed is the difference in the way that residents of the outside wake up from that of denizens of the 'inside' world.
Most are familiar with birds that awaken as much as an hour before first light to chatter and call, mostly during summer months. I have a six or seven year old rooster who does just that every morning. He is quite enthusiastic about every new day, so stoked in fact that he announces each with a rousing call and reveille that permeates two windows and adobe walls.
I have laid awake during many of his solar predictions. Sometimes I have been quite annoyed, almost to the point of wringing his neck and making a stew of him, in fact. I never acted upon that, and in part because of that, I have enjoyed the opposite emotion while listening to his calls, as well.
Sleeping out in the Waterpocket fold area of southern Utah, in the surrounding mountains and many other instances in the Yellowstone area, I remember the zest and seeming abandon with which wild birds and animals greet each new day. The enthusiasm of those animals was much like that of old Joe the rooster, and I was left at times to reflect upon my own lack of joy at the coming dawn, or for that matter, the dawn that might have begun hours before.
I know that I am very far from alone in my attitude. How many people do you know who rue each morning of the work week? How many human beings are there who "drag" their bodies out of bed with curses for their job and the shortness of the night before? I know far too many, and I am one of them much of the time.
It hasn't always been this way. When I was a child, I would rise before my mother could catch me in the morning after my father had left for work and go to one of my friend's houses to rouse them for play. I remember more than once one of their parents meeting me at the door, barefoot and in their pajamas to tell me that their son hadn't awakened yet, and nor had their parents. I loved the morning.
Later on, I would sneak out of my house far before the dawn to walk about the neighborhood and creekbeds about my house. I would sometimes knock on friend's windows to ask them to join me or just talk about things. Others times I would pick rosebuds from yards on my way to strew in girlfriend's window sills or wells. I really did love the morning.
The light seemed so much more hopeful, the scents so much more clear and meaningful in the morning before and as the sun came up.
Listening to the dogs awaken and bark at each other was almost as beautiful as those bird's songs. Imagine that statement with reference to any other time during the day or night. Sure.
I had a great friend who would at times indulge my morning fetishes. Once we took a hike to a place called Elephant Rock, just up the canyon from where we lived. We began before it was light and breakfasted upon cereal and milk from our packs when we got to the promontory. As we watched the light fill the forest and canyon, I remember no words being said, but I remember quite a few smiles and deep breaths taken.
Suffice to say, I have many good memories of the morning tide, with a great many golden people. Where has that 'joi de vivre' gone? I can write at length to that point, and much would touch a great many tender nerves. Much would be trite or all-too common as well, such as that speaking to the common plight of the worker.
I must lay a great deal of blame at the feet of what I see as a continuing alienation from what the dawn chorus represents, a disconnect from the natural world and what gave birth to my very soul. Most of my center is what many would call idealism or a certain detachment from reality, so disconnect might be unavoidable as long as I hold to that sense of self.
The natural world seems to be happy to meet the new day. I am happy to take this lesson in anew every twenty four hours or so, and thanks to old Joe and my memories, I have begun to rise a little earlier as often as I may to walk and smell, and listen.
I need to awaken inside, as well as outside. It's a treat to watch my children and sweetheart sleep their dreams in the twilight, breathing easy just before the light rouses them. They don't sing like the birds or the rooster, but I love their serene faces more than I can express.
I'm enjoying the morning a little more these days.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

In an earnest attempt to get to a little round lake on the lee of Thousand Lakes Mountain, we came into direct contact with the affects of a recent rain and snowstorm in the desert.
Trundling around in a search for a road we knew went to the lake, we found gullies and ruts where there were none in any previous trip. Finally, and quite predictably, a gullied wash faced our little transport. We knew we were foiled without at least an hour's work with shovels we didn't have, so we turned around and revised our plans.
With red rock and high desert all around feeding our senses with ripe-peach like gulps, we decided to follow a track neither of us had traveled the length of. With shadows still long and the light still full of the morning, we talked of politics and beauty, tyranny and hope until we saw an odd set of tracks heading off to the side of the road.
"What's up with that?" was the nonchalant and collective query. We drove on fair oblivious. That's not really new, though.
When faced with another ten-foot tall gully, the reason for the tracks clicked. Backing up, we again realized that we might be on another of our fool's errands, but it sure was great to be out.
After gingerly following the short sidetrack to its terminus at the other side of the hazard, we drove on, watching for signs of detour. Consulting the GPS for further clues in contour lines and projected route, I was less-than-delighted to see that the confounded device had dropped the very map that we were about to cross into. Entering blue gridwork signifying 'insufficient information' at the other side of the electronic fount of topography on the display, we had to kick dirt with our boots and scoop with our hands several more times with very little warning past our God-given field of vision. A couple of times we scouted the road past flood washes and debris fields, perhaps just as it ought to be when out exploring the beloved desert. Silly electronic crutches, anyhow.
What we saw and touched while on the way back to a paved highway brought joy to the hearts of the travelers. We ambled the thirty miles at a leisurely pace, vagabonds for beauty every step of the way, though near the end we knew that the whole thing had taken much more time than our dear wives back home had budgeted. I'm sure payment in full will be extracted in due time from our repentant, though for short while, fulfilled hearts.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I've no real experience at war or like bloodshed, but this, one of the most well-known poems from the First World War, speaks well what I feel:

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

-Wilfred Owen

*Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - it is sweet and right to die for your country. In other words, it is a wonderful and great honour to fight and die for your country

Wilfred Owen died in combat just six days prior to the armistice that ended that particular war. He is a man who has my deepest respect.
Driving along the road this morning toward Manti and my day's labor, I was joined by John Denver.
There are many who think that J.D. was a sap, writing sentimental lyrics and maudlin music. I am not one of those people. I miss the man greatly, I miss his influence in the world and his mixture of idealism and feeble humanity.
I know that he was just a man, but his talent was to speak the hearts of those who hope for something better from ourselves. He was very human and full of foibles and weakness, including an apparent lack of foresight in not checking the fuel level in his airplane, but he had an ability to sing about things that matter; love, wilderness, relationships, yearning and hope.
The sun came up brightly this morning, illuminating the cold mountains in gold. As the music played, I glanced at my little thermometer with a trailing outside probe; it read 18.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The solution of alcohol and other distillates did very little to melt the frost from the windshield, but I had the hope of gasoline fire derived heat in the next few minutes.
As my mind played on the mountains and hills to each side of our valley, I couldn't help but notice the people whizzing past me in their shiny new cars, many with pristine and untried fourwheelers and other toys strapped to trailers or beds. They wore expressions fairly identical to those without accoutrements of recreation, hurriedly passing me as I struggled to keep advancing southward toward my job. There were also farmers and their helpers in their fields on either side of the road, continuing their preparation for the next season, thinking their thoughts and getting things done.
As John Denver sang Sweet Surrender, I drove through Ephraim. Cars were more numerous and darting, though the people outside of those cars seemed less numerous than in the fields. A frantic sense of purpose runs deep in the human race, whether real or imagined, wholesome or entirely frivolous, and the cars with blank faces attest to that. These days, most of our purpose leans toward money and its acquisition.
In Ephraim, that is obvious. I am involved in education and have many friends who teach at Snow College in Ephraim. In our collective experience, most of those who go to school these days pay exorbitant amounts of the stuff into the coffers at the promise that even more exhorbitant amounts of money will be their eventual award at the end of their "education." Few hope or work for anything else but money, any more. Well, other than the hope of some sort of fame, which is even more fleeting.
The road between Ephraim and Manti was long, if only because my foot lacked initiative to push my little Toyota past 45 mph. The light streamed into the valley through canyons in great amber gushes as steam rose from ditches and streams wending their way toward the Sanpitch River to the west. The Mighty Tushars rose from their base next to the Sevier to the south and I fought temptation as mighty as those moutains to drive past the right-hand turn that would take me to the girl's residential treatment center where I endeavor to teach English and Arts and Humanities among other struggles.
My foot found its way to the brake as my hands worked other contraptions that guided me toward work nevertheless. At work, I cannot see the light shining on the valleys or the mountains anymore, only that which seeps through the shades on the windows that look out to the city's dump to the north.
With or without all of his flaws, John Denver is not appreciated here and nor are most of my odd ideas of beauty, love or hope. I keep on trying in my own imperfect way, though.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

We had a lovely sunset this evening; hope yours was, too.

What is the shape of your inner reality and can you tell from whence it came or how it was formed?
There are those who say that this life is a dream, and while I have no idea as to the amount of truth in that concept, it is a point upon which I ponder quite often.
It is wonderful the way a little town keeps track of itself and of all its units. If every single man and woman, child and baby, acts and conducts itself in a known pattern and breaks on walls and differs with no one and experiments in no way and is not sick and does not endanger the ease and peace of mind or steady unbroken flow of the town then that unit can disappear and never be heard of. But let no man step out of the regular thought or the known and trusted pattern m, and the nerves of the townspeople ring with nervousness and communication travels over the nerve lines of the town. Every town communicates to the whole.
-John Steinbeck
The Pearl

Why is it that systems within nature beget similar systems? Those systems within a protist resemble those within a human being which resemble those within a town which resemble those within a state, etcetera, ad infinitum?
Does not a dream state show one the singularity of an action or emotion such that it can dominate the dream and become the focus, eventually breaking the concentration of the sleep and awakening the dreamer to a confused state of focus only broken by furious reorientation and reassurance that wakefulness is the true reality?
I experience this when thinking on the state of mankind, with its pockets of prosperity and abject poverty, wherein the people of that state exist solely to the purpose of furthering their own predicament. The people of those societies exist in states of happiness and sadness, often regardless of their economic or material status. Their external resemble their internal systems, working to preserve the stasis within or without. Is this not the stuff of dreams?
How does Steinbeck's observation of the small town not apply to society at large? How does it not apply to the United States of America, with a status quo attempting to preserve the wealth of those who are wealthy, the productivity of those who still produce, and the apathy of those who exist at the periphery? Each population has its systems and patterns kept functioning by those interested in enforcement or order, ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, as it always does, straight through from the small to the large, the simple to the more complex.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The process of aging within a society obsessed with youth and the possibility of life after death through the beneficence of an abstract and, to some, distant God is a strange and discordant thing. Time's river relentlessly wears deep fissures in one's face and hands. That same river either can refresh and deepen the mind's channel or erode the mind completely, depending on mysterious circumstance or the whims of the Gods.
In my life of relationships with human beings, I have been affected by the rise and fall of many a good person. I have seen bright lights fade slowly or blink out suddenly as a result of what, to that person at least, seemed like rational and logical decisions in the face of a hostile environment.
There have been those among us who have been able to chart and record their own course into the oblivion of the other side, through art or writing, helping us to understand a little more the fear and apprehension that are experienced when leaving this mortal coil. Besides those who are able to record the dilated veil of Alzheimer’s, we have a rich history of work talking about the process of or sudden blink of death's eye.
I remember reading many in my life, including one when I was in fifth or sixth grade; those stories and anecdotes affected me greatly. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is the earliest in my mind of stories that made me think of the intersection of life and death, and there through, about understanding and appreciating the moments that come in between the difficulties of the birth canal and the unknown beyond life's gates. It even became one of the most popular "Twilight Zone" episodes ever, a testament to its ability to affect even people in the 'modern' era.
'Tis an unusual trick to show a child the uncertainty and trickery possible at the close of life with one breath and with the other describe Jesus as the Savior of all mankind; with power over death and purveyor of certainty and security for the life beyond. There are very few people with the mystical or religious agility to treat the question that seeks to reconcile the possibilities of the metaphysical with the posits of science.
Is this something that we revisit frequently in our own lives, telling stories and reassuring our neighbors as to our position of security and prosperity when in reality, truth is closer to a view that the abyss is at our feet and the blade closer to our neck with each passing second? Which of these extremes visits more damage upon our collective psyche, the idea that we are nested wards of an unseen god or the opposite; we are feeble individual flames, naked to the whims of the wide sky and shaky earth?
The question stands and our society remains obsessed with a fleeting youth. Perhaps religions as we practice them aren't up to the test of our society today. Perhaps we really need to dig deeper into our own true selves, into our collective history to pull the essence of religion and a deeper understanding of the now with the end of facing day-to-day life with a better view of the unknown on either end of this short life.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I just got back from a little walk from the far end of Mt. Pleasant to Spring City with my family, a few other people and this chap. Marshall Thompson is a young man who recently got home from Iraq and felt the need to do something more to promote peace and real solutions than he had been able to do as a soldier over there.
We talked at length about ourselves and our hopes and observations, and along the way Marshall mentioned that while there seems to be a lack media coverage of his walk, the people that he's met and walked with have been overwhelming in their support of his efforts and of the causes that he is drawing attention to. He had his doubts upon embarking upon his journey, but those were exorcised by the number of people who have walked with him and spread the word by mouth and through non-traditional media.
He told me that majority of people he's seen and talked with have voiced a desire to change course in Iraq in spite of a dearth of related opinion at large coupled with much coverage of the contrary. Though there exists a lack of political will in congress and the executive to truly examine and re-evaluate the situation in Iraq generally, it would seem that the street, more specifically the predominately "red" Utah street, feels otherwise.
His writings are available on his site, as is a log of his progress and efforts. Check it out. Marshall's quite a fellow, and he deserves real support.

Monday, October 9, 2006

A huge amount of work has gone into Mother Jones' "Lie by Lie: Chronicle of a War Foretold: August 1990 to March 2003." Check it out here.
A good place to start in Sept 2001, and expand in both directions from there. This, in my humble opinion is just the tip of the ice shelf in a submerged morass of lies, subterfuge and obfuscation in order to take advantage of power and opportunity for profit.
I reference Adam Smith, who said, "Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all." This is truly what has become of our government in the United States. The few with much plan and collude in order to amass more and protect that which they have been able to procure through their privileged station.
Does this not describe the current capitalists and capitalist tools in leadership positions today?

Monday, October 2, 2006

There are times when the stimuli from all the points in one's life begin to converge and make a single screeching sound that doesn't come from any one place or from any of the places involved.
As the veins in my hands refill after the night's rest, that sound comes down from the sky and through the ceiling above as near as can be dreamed, filling that faint space between each new thought and reaction. I cannot recount how or where that impression began; I can only scare remaining small doses of fame-lust from the tips of every finger and whisper your name.
Each tone evolves a new regression. Though seldom guilty of gluttony, my head teeters on the edge of this; the creation of new space for clever fools and the harbingers of accidental cravings. Which will eventually first come to awakening? Only edges of the opposite horizon will tell.
As for you, my potent connection with emptiness, may your children know the love of joy.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A wildfire started this afternoon east of Ft Green. There was a fire almost a month ago in the same neigborhood, but that one started in the evening as a result of careless campers. I don't know what the origins of this one are.

Update: Current information from the Utah Fire Info's site.

Monday, September 25, 2006

As autumn slowly prepares the way for winter's snow in the high country, i get a hankering to see cottonwoods in the lower deserts to the east of our valley. They're the last trees in the area to lose their leaves, so they're usually the final show of summer as she slips south.

On the way up the canyon to get to the desert on the other side, we saw the remains of the season's first real snowfall. The color hasn't yet hit its stride in the mountains, so that's a sure bet that the low cottonwoods haven't been touched by fall. The progress of the seasons is a good thing to watch all along the trip, nevertheless. Word has it that there was at least six to eight inches of snow on the summits when it fell, and that there are areas where four feet has run into drifts up high. These trees still have snow on their branches four days after the storms; that's an indication of the winds and how cold it's been for the past few days.
The fish were fun to watch on the stream on the other side of the mountain. It was three in the afternoon, but in the shade they were breaking the water with a vigor usually reserved for the first and last light of the day. We had some fun with dry flies for a time, and the color displayed by the medium-sized browns was a joy to see.

We didn't have much time in the desert this time due to challenged navigation and questionable exploratory decisions, but to see the red rock, sage and cottonwoods is always worth the time and effort.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Drie and the kids made a fine showing at the first Spring City Arts Festival yesterday, another silly excuse to invite countless shifty-eyed Wasatch Front social climbers to covet our little town and all fleeting blessings associated therewith.
The kids offered hand-drawn, cut-out and origami-bedecked bookmarks, hand-painted giftwrap and all sort of beautiful handiwork for ridiculously small prices, while Drie and I gave away free sourdough starts by the bucketfull and tried to get someone to buy a small collections of essays that we put together with some of our local friends. The wee tome, entitled Modern Pioneering: An Impractical Digest of Economic Disobedience and Cooperative Self-Realization, didn't end up the belle of the ball.
Though the book didn't exactly sell like the pancake-fodder that we were giving away for free, I offer it to you here, in a Word Document form, for your perusal.
By the way, don't get stuck on the long-winded title. I was just having fun with the bourgeois crowd at the festival; no wonder it didn't sell.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hugo Chavez vaults Chomsky's two year old book into the bestsellers list. Article here. I don't know what good any of this will do, but the subversive synergy in and of itself warms the cockles of my shriveled little heart.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The first frost was hard enough to halt further progress on the various squashes, corn and a few peppers, but the brussels sprouts and most of the tarp and blanket covered tomatoes weathered it well. Here's to continued cherry tomatoes well into Septemeber!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A case for the Curmudgeon’s view

As the morning clouds lifted from the mountains above SpringTowne this morning, one could see evidence of the overnight seasonal changes. Amidst the wisps of cloud and mist was a layer of snow, the first snow of the autumn that will be inaugurated later this week.
Change is constant in this world so completely dominated by business interests and power play. As the world economy grinds as mill grist the faces of those busy trying to survive, we in the mountain valleys off the main arteries of the west are caught in the latest in capitalism's constant search for expansion.
Many new people have come to Sanpete over the past five or six years looking for a place to rest from the harried mess that has been made of our society. Many come here, having heard of cheap real estate or outbuildings unused by the natives that can be bought and spruced up for peanuts to endow instant cachet and hip rusticity to the person with a little disposable income or will to go a little bit more into debt to the banker.
Most of this species does not stay here year-round; in fact most do not even stay around here week-long for any period. They herald the benefits of the small-town atmosphere, the clean air, and the opportunity to "get away from it all." Then they market their wares, art or intellect somewhere off to the north or wherever else they have opportunity or another residence, spreading the news of the affordable Mecca in the mountains of far-off Mormon Utah.
The truth is that they can't stand being here all the time. Sanpete’s not an easy place to live, with brief but hot, dry summers and irrigation restrictions for those without huge inheritances of water or the money to buy from those who hawk shares. There are also long, cold winters with very little to break up what after the long months becomes to the mind windswept sage and expanses of trees and fields bereft of life.
The long winters are work to those without money to fix up the old houses. Winter is a time of psychological and emotional endurance for those without money or another residence with which to break up the intense anticipation of spring and new tasks set by the progression of seasons.
Nevertheless, this change has come to Sanpete with droves of new automobiles and shiny, fashionable faces gazing excitedly from their cars upon the allure of restored antique houses and the promise of those unrestored. Those for sale by Sanpeters who have given up on own hopes of a simpler life away from these devourers of milk and honey. But these devourers have been invited by what we have and sometimes don’t appreciate.
This will bring ruin upon all of our houses, eventually.
Life isn't easy down here in the high desert valleys. There are those who have made a conscious choice to commit to community, the land and necessarily simpler ways. But that is changing with the newer immigrants to Sanpete. The new way is the way of money and convenience, and this is slowly seeping its way into our valley.
The only way out of such change is a sort of ruin, the ruin that comes of unsustainable expansion into fragile resources, principle and the lifeblood of simple people's lives.
I don't pretend to know or even understand the plight of the truly exploited or displaced, but I see the methods of the same machinery of privilege steamrolling the meek at work here in SpringTowne.
Not only does it make it hard for the principled idealist to live, it makes it downright frightening to walk our neighborhood sometimes.
When will people learn? Marketing a lifestyle begets just what it sows:
The whirlwind and an extinction of the lifestyle it sold downstream. That sort of change is never good.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Garrison Keillor holds forth splendidly on the gap in reason between current national leadership and real future needs.
I'm sitting here, typing away to the sounds of Dylan’s latest effort. He's a piece from the album called Working Man's Blues 2.

There's an evenin' haze settlin' over town
Starlight by the edge of the creek
The buyin' power of the proletariat's gone down
Money's gettin' shallow and weak
Well, the place I love best is a sweet memory
It's a new path that we trod
They say low wages are a reality
If we want to compete abroad

My cruel weapons have been put on the shelf
Come sit down on my knee
You are dearer to me than myself
As you yourself can see
While I'm listening to the steel rails hum
Got both eyes tight shut
Just sitting here trying to keep the hunger from
Creeping it's way into my gut

Well, I'm sailin' on back, ready for the long haul
Tossed by the winds and the seas
I'll drag 'em all down to hell and I'll stand 'em at the wall
I'll sell 'em to their enemies
I'm tryin' to feed my soul with thought
Gonna sleep off the rest of the day
Sometimes no one wants what we got
Sometimes you can't give it away

Now the place is ringed with countless foes
Some of them may be deaf and dumb
No man, no woman knows
The hour that sorrow will come
In the dark I hear the night birds call
I can feel a lover's breath
I sleep in the kitchen with my feet in the hall
Sleep is like a temporary death

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the frontline
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

Well, they burned my barn, and they stole my horse
I can't save a dime
I got to be careful, I don't want to be forced
Into a life of continual crime
I can see for myself that the sun is sinking
How I wish you were here to see
Tell me now, am I wrong in thinking
That you have forgotten me?

Now they worry and they hurry and they fuss and they fret
They waste your nights and days
Them I will forget
But you I'll remember always
Old memories of you to me have clung
You've wounded me with your words
Gonna have to straighten out your tongue
It's all true, everything you've heard

n you, my friend, I find no blame
Wanna look in my eyes, please do
No one can ever claim
That I took up arms against you
All across the peaceful sacred fields
They will lay you low
They'll break your horns and slash you with steel
I say it so it must be so

Now I'm down on my luck and I'm black and blue
Gonna give you another chance
I'm all alone and I'm expecting you
To lead me off in a cheerful dance
I got a brand new suit and a brand new wife
I can live on rice and beans
Some people never worked a day in their life
Don't know what work even means

Why does it seem that the majority in our social order are drugged and working to get to the top of the deluded heap through acts of desperation and calumny? What is achieved through the games that we play?
Some people shine with an eerie glow of self-assurance while silently scheming the next act of showmanship to sell themselves to their higher-ups as worthy of promotion and more power in the game, while others struggle against scheme until they finally succumb to whatever is their greatest personal strength and most anemic affliction in the face of the powers and currents in our society.
The system we live in mirrors humanity's halting progress, with each struggle etching its way on the rules, piling ethical weakness upon strength. Each individual is much the same, with an added dimension: each is surrounded by others struggling just as mightily to find security and happiness, the strength of the collective behind every individual's acts, for good or ill, with edification or destruction the result.
People fight against what they see as wicked or wrong, almost viscerally and instinctually. They do so from a position that they see as strength, whether that is godly, intellectual or simply moral. Humans rally around common goals through war, religion, crusade, cause or revenge. Those who rally are bestowed with a feeling of justification and strength as the goal benefits from the strength generated. It doesn't matter whether that goal is truly correct or right, it just matters that the goal accumulates power in numbers and opinion.
Throughout history, the weak in mind, morals, perception, numbers, or finances have been perceived by others as 'wrong' and often, 'evil.' The fault of villainy has been pinned on all manner of weakness since the beginning of time. The Jews had their scapegoats, Christians their blasphemers, Muslims their heretics and secularists their hopeless fools. The strength of purpose infused by the agreed application of the label of 'other' at some level has benefited nearly every association, whether with a membership of millions or of a person dealing with one’s own self. It’s an inherent tactic of basal human psychology.
It doesn't matter whether there is a moral, ethical or godly imperative; the scapegoat loses strength as the majority group becomes stronger. That sort of strength often gains momentum unless it arouses an opposing force able to rally opinion and force that breaks the wave of destruction against the 'other.' It's that simple.
Even in our virtuous republic, the working man remains weak in the social order until he realizes that work doesn't beget power. It only enriches powerbrokers over him while they dole out tokens of recreation and diversion. If he breaks free of the system somehow to create a separate peace instead of selling out or buying in, he only calls upon himself the wrath of those who were formerly his taskmasters who label him 'insane,' 'delusional,' 'rabble-rouser,' or plain wrong.
If such a person accumulates followers or comrades, the full force of the majority is called upon to condemn the outsiders as a cult, as dangerous mavericks or troublemakers. If the formerly powerless person or group feels threatened and begins to amass monetary and martial power and postures to defend, law and government often become active in condemnation of the outsider. If the situation escalates a bit more in either camp, the outsider elicits the most unmitigated scapegoat labels of our time, correctly or not, of subversive or "terrorist."
Why must this be? Why do so many people who cannot abide this world's ways resort to disengagement, crime, and violence or fall victim to isolation, sadness and suicide? Why must we, who call ourselves enlightened and rational act in such a benighted and irrational way as to carry on the foolish traditions of our ancestors in scapegoating those who might lead us out of our most savage and selfish ways? The answer is, I reckon, a blowin' in the wind before our own eyes. History can be our best teacher, and change our best friend, unless we wish to remain in our worst of destructive behaviors, condemning that which might lead us to better ways.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hatch says Demo win could help terrorists

So that's what the Honorable Senator Hatch thinks? I reckon that a third-party win would be a clear victory for none other than... Satan?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Being a human being subject to the foibles of fashion and the indignities of imperfect psychology is a perfect place to write from, especially after having driven to the farthest reaches of Yellowstone from SpringTowne within the space of three and a half days in a spirited fifth-hand '91 Ford Ranger with well-worn running gear.
Ryan and I left town at around three thirty on Thursday afternoon. I had been to work at the Girl's homethat morning, and they had started the day off with a bang by being found out in a hazing conspiracy focused on one of their fellow mates. The girls were the subject of much discussion and handwringing by the staff and I between the day's lessons, movies and evaluations. Whenever any one of them has a hard time, I find myself worrying and thinking overtime to figure out better ways to monitor their needs and progress in fulfilling said needs. I take it harder still when the whole group needs a collective arse-wollop.
I needed to somehow leave my concerns far south of home this time, as we headed north into what we hoped would be a good finale to the summer away from the full-time classrooms we love but at this time of the year, anticipate with some trepidation. It would be hard work getting some rejuvination and spiritual rest out of this whirlwind tour.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The 24th of July is a sort of benchmark in the year. It has been since a childhood event when, on the 24th, my uncle ascended in his pickup to the top of Bountiful Peak, decending in the heat of the summer day with a bed full of snow. He deposited it at my grandparent's house, amazing all, especially us children. Since then, this is a time when I look to the local mountain to see how the water year is progressing.
This year's snow, like the last, has been scant over much of the mountain, mostly on account of this summer's tremendous heat. We have made it to this point with just enough snow on the 'Shoe to make me smile, though. Things will be just fine.

So, as things go, it was a fairly quiet Pioneer Day here in SpringTowne. Most of the festivities around the state were held on Friday or Saturday in this state leery of revelry on the Sabbath.
I erected the state flag, nevertheless, in silent protest to all of the US flag waving that seems to happen on this holiday, as if it were merely an extension of the 4th, a day entirely appropriate for such flags. Pioneer Day, in my eyes, is more a Utah Independence Day, inasmuch as the pioneers were in fact fleeing the United States way back in 1847.
They were seeking a land where they could practice their worship of God as they saw fit, with all their virtues and foibles intact. The Utah Pioneers escaped to Mexico, legally or not, to a high desert that not many wanted to bother with. They proposed to join the union not long after that, after their bit of earth became a territory through the shady dealings of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, though Utah (for much of those years known as Deseret) was rebuffed for more than forty years in its attempts to gain statehood. The request was only granted after threats, war and petty accusations wore Utah's Mormons down to give up many things held sacred.
My wee flag waves on the 24th as a feeble reminder that some things were given up to become a part of the home of the free and the home of the brave. Things haven't much changed even in the present, judging from processes and machinations at work in our fair nation today.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The corn is up and tassling out, and our sunflowers are about to bloom.

Having bought water shares from a good couple in town, we are ready to begin a system so we can drip irrigate as much plant life as possible while cultivating a wee bit of lawn for old time's sake.
It's the end of July right now, though. Too hot and not a good idea to use much water at this time of year, anyway.
Pioneer Day is always a time for us to head north to Bountiful. We invariably go to my aunt and uncle's house for a feed and family get together next to my grandfather's old garden patch at the home which was for many years my great-grandparent's.
Since we absolutely must, with threat of some ungodly sanction from on high if we miss it, too soon after arriving, we headed over to Main Street for the parade.

The sun shone heartily on Bountiful's 24th of July parade (held on the 21st), so heartily in fact that though it was seven thirty pm in the intermountain west, we were afraid that we'd made a wrong turn and had gone south from our home in SpringTowne instead of North. It was not unlike sitting on a street in Phoenix, watching a parade in the 103 degree heat. Stifling isn't even much of a descriptor, since I was willing to run a good race to get out of the heat. I would have sprinted a good ways.

Play, talk, running, shouting and general hijinx wore the kids out by the time we got home from the fireworks up the hill. The floor of the living room is made into a wide bed and all fall asleep, hopeful for promise of more fun on the morrow.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yes, I know that pictures of kids and kittens are adorable and perhaps the photographic equivalent of the gastronomic strawberry shortcake, but this post has nothing to do with either.
The general malaise of our materially-obsessed society is becoming more forceful in its sway here in quiet SpringTowne. More "successful" artists and retirees seeking speculative real estate are showing up in their luxury sedans and glittering SUV's. The ratio of leisure class to working class, on the rise for quite a while around here, is rising as to become more obvious with each passing month. The gentrification of Spring City has become a boom market.
As the new homes built become larger and more marked in their contrast from the those of the common folk, there is even dissention amongst the former elite. Some professors at the local college comment about the ostentation of the new wave of the genteel.
Of course, the unwashed masses who haven't been squeezed or been persuaded to sell out are talking and taking some action, as well. Signs of protest have appeared on SpringTowne's utility poles, though they were torn down by an offended someone almost as quickly as they were put up.
How long will it take for Spring City to become another Park City, Heber or Emigration Canyon, Utah? One never knows, but hopefully the transition will be marked by some amount of conscience and consideration. The heart of this town would benefit from such.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

One of the original members of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, has died at the age of 60.
Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

After a job interview at the Aspen Ranch in Loa, I joined Ryan, his father and his brother for a spot of fishing on the Escalante Plateau south of the Boulder.
The rain was refreshing, the lake beautiful and the fishing better than any we've experienced in a long time.
All four of us, on one of the most beautiful lakes in our world, singing out to each other to ask what was pulled next from the clear water and into the nets. We were giddy by the end of the evening, hardly believing our good fortune and the size and colors of the Brookies we were blessed with for our hike and meager efforts on their lake.
When will that place treat us in like manner again? It hadn't done so in many, many years, and probably won't again for at least a few.
We'll hold this time in our hearts at least until that next one.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Here, put the cost of the protracted war in Iraq into context with the real world.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I went to the Annual EHS meeting up at the State Board of Ed building in SLC yesterday. It went fine, for the most part, though new accounting methods are lighting a fire underneath my forgiving teacher's seat. I need to work harder to get more numbers of kids moving more quickly through my class in the future. Other than that, it was an informative meeting; EHS is growing at an admirable clip and the Utah State Legislature wants to know where the money is going. Understandable, to a point.
On the way out, I ran into this shrine at a tree with sap running out of a limb cut. It must have something to do with Mary and weeping, but I think that the limb scar has changed in the past year or so. I couldn't see anything special about the knot besides the fluid running quite freely. I looked, but perhaps my heart wasn't in the right place...

Moving along, I spent some time at Liberty Park, stopped in to say hi to my Mimi and thereafter, generally went on a 'splore. Along the way, I decided to head out to Herriman to see how much it had changed in the intervening years since I was last there, and was amazed at how many Smith's Marketplaces and supersized cardboard cottages there were clumped about. I am growing more cynical about real estate and "capitalism" as I get older and more frustrated by what happens to everyone involved.

I took this photo by one of the very few remaining cultivated fields that I could find in Herriman. Amazing transformation of a once beautiful place. The canyons, though home to many more homes than last time I was there, are still very pretty, nevertheless.
Before skirting along the edge of Utah Lake on my way home, I stopped off at my Grandfather's grave at the Veteran's Memorial cemetery at Ft. Douglas. I haven't been to the gravesite since the funeral in '98, and despite the time, I walked right to it. It's a nice place to sit, with the two valleys stretching off to the north and south. I enjoyed my stay, speaking with his spirit all by myself as the sun slid behind the Oquirrh Mountains at my back.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's day was a splendid affair, with barbeque, baseball catch and storytelling with the kids. We dragged some of my grandfather's WWII aviator's paraphernalia out of the closet and had a time of looking through it.
The kids were impressed, and it was good to draw connections across the years and between generations.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

The gist of this one is simple; Anwyn has discovered the stairs.
And she's decided that she's good at it.
It's all downhill from here, she'll be headed out the door to seek her fortune before anyone knows it.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Drie's birthday was just fine, with happiness and skating all around.
This is the best time for a birthday, with water plentiful in central Utah and green grass the result, it's fun to hang out on the front lawn and read or watch the kids try not to fall down.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

There was a minor catastrophe in SpringTowne yesterday when an automobile, sans insurance and an adequate cooling system, burst into flames while heading up the street just north of us. It started a brush fire and bought the volunteer department out in force to quell the blaze, but not before it destroyed a vinyl fence and denuded most of an unbuilt lot of its grass and verge.
No one was hurt, thankfully, but it kicked the summer off with a bang.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Secret Journey 2006
As I left the valley yesterday, I ran into this annual rite of spring, one of the cattle drives along the highway toward summer pastures.

I was on a mission though, I was on a quest for beauty and further light and knowledge. One source of such amusement for me are these graveyards. I love cemeteries for many reasons, for grass and trees, for the information on the gravestones, and for the people and stories long passed from this now green earth.
The Provo Cemetery is a great mix of the new and the old, the ostentatious and the pious, and all things hallowed for whatever reason. There are ancient junipers and not quite so old magnolias, limestone markers and granite crypts.
I like to sit and listen to whatever passes by while looking at the leaves against the sky while amongst the graves, and somehow it comforts me that there have been so many who pass over in whatever way they end, and I'm still not sure what happens on the other side in spite of all my searches.

Among the places I explored was an old iron smelter site in a beautiful grove of Russian olive trees and wetlands. The specimens of plants and trees is wide-ranging, and one never knows what will turn up when one goes there.

The last time I was on the grounds was fourteen years ago, on a Botany field trip while I was going to Snow College. We harvested sedge, several species of mint, cattail, horsetail, and many others for herbaria that were a large part of our grades that term. I lost mine when I inadvertently left it in our damned fifth-wheel trailer after we sold it back in '94. Too bad about that.
This is in a different part of the site, at least a half a mile away from the site we explored on that field trip.

Some of the fresh graffiti here and there on the site.

A Superman of sorts, competing for the imagination with all the other permutations and reincarnations of the icon. This is one of my favorites.

This must have been a fair mighty building at one time. What a waste of materials and labor to just dismantle and abandon all of this industry.

Next to the site is this unused road spurring off from the dirt roads meandering over the abandoned area. The city must use it to initiate the newbies to the art of line painting.
On the way home, I headed up a canyon that I'd not gone up in all of the years I've lived in this area, even though it's not more than forty miles away.
There's much to see and understand, with many relic of the recent past hidden from the road and hydrological gems to explored in the future.
I had very good journey today.

Monday, May 29, 2006

We woke up this morning to what we expected, with the mercury much lower than it should ever be this late in the year. We had put blankets and tarps on the garden for the second night in a row, only this time we knew that the situation might be a little more desperate than the previous night.

Sunday was cloudy and snowy, with the sun making a brief appearance now and again, only able to up the temperature by degrees of one and two at a time. We ended the daylight hours with 41 degrees. Then the clouds all cleared off, leaving the stars twinkling briskly in the crystal-black sky.
We slept knowing it was in God's hands entirely.
In the morning, the sun rose with no reservations or encumbrances. I let it warm up above forty again, and went out to survey the damage.

Aside from heavy damage in the tomatillo department and the black tops of most of the tomatoes, our efforts were fruitful. Perhaps we've seen the last of the freezes for this year, but maybe not. Either way, I'd still do the same. It's always a crap shoot when gardening here in Sanpete, even the best of the old timers don't always come out of the season unscathed.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Following strict rules of etiquette and procedure, it's snowing here in Sanpete two days after school let out for the summer, after two and a half weeks of ninety-plus degree temperatures.
Why did we plant three-quarters of our garden before Memorial Day knowing in our bones that this would happen? It could be the fact that we've waited 'til after for the past two years, and we never really got anything done before it was too late. There's a window or opportunity of around a week and a half, and that's just too short for the likes of us.
Why did I take the top off of the 'Runner knowing what I know? That easier to answer, and I don't reckon really I need to.
We'll hold out hope for some more sun sometime today, after which we'll run the tarps out to cover and insulate for the night. That's the plan.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I am yet working and wandering around Ephraim; the Suburban is at the shop being procrastinated on and put off, so I'll just enjoy the blessings of a break in routine and college-provided internet access.
Here's the inside of the summer-abandoned Greenwood Student Center at Snow, via my poor little web-cam, just for novelty's sake.
Over the past six moths or so, I've seen a few articles in The Telegraph on the young Nepalese monk Ram Bamjan, also known popularly as the 'Buddha Boy'. It's an interesting story that came out of a troubled land in very perilous times.
There's a good Wikipedia article on him, and I just ran across a great article in GQ.

I'm at Snow College's Phillip's Library right now, catching up on some work while I wait for the S'burb's AC Service to be completed.
We did the whole leak repair/recharge thing last year, and all went well as long as the long arm of the winter didn't tweak things anew. As long as I have the wretched behemoth and a wee lass like Anwyn around, we might as well have the air conditioning work, no?