… This was to be my swan song meeting. I’ve been a Colorado rep to the Public Lands Steering Committee of NACo since 1997 – at the expense of our state association, Colorado Counties, Inc (CCI), not our county. I’d risen to leadership, chairing a subcommittee on Gateway Communities and being named to the board of the Western Interstate Region. I’d get to hold my own hearings twice a year (once in DC), and push for progressive legislation within the ranks of a very conservative organization of some 3,068 rural counties all across America. It was a great platform to demonstrate that Greens could contribute and help shape the national discussion on public land issues – something that directly affects San Miguel County, where almost two-thirds of our land base is under federal control … But it had grown harder to attend the four meetings a year that were part of the national duties, especially now as I’d begun to single-parent my boy Gorio during the summers (and on weekends during the school year). And it was too much time away from Cloud Acre and my spud fields. Plus, the group was SO conservative, my voice was almost always on the losing end of votes, even if our minority opinion had grown over the years from a couple dissidents to a dozen or so (in a group of 50-60). And the meeting in Reno (ugh – personally I hate casinos, never gamble and find gambling towns tawdry and unpleasant) was no exception. The Public Lands Committee voted 40-9 to ask Obama to shorten his moratorium on deep sea oil drilling from six months to 30 days (and I had thought six months was too short!), and the group as a whole adopted that resolution – which means NACo’s not insubstantial lobbying might will be working to try and convince the Congress and the Administration to do just that). Outrageous, I thought! So I started saying goodbyes and preparing folks for my departure … One usually applies (or re-applies) for leadership positions, which are appointed by the new NACo president annually. I hadn’t applied, and so figured (as a notorious progressive) that my term was up after two years as Gateway Communities chair. And an Idaho conservative was already lobbying to take my place … But, surprise, the new president from Texas re-appointed me, even though I hadn’t applied. And several progressives on the Public Lands Steering Committee (including Commissioner Peter Runyan from Eagle County and Green Commissioner David Conley from Wisconsin) strongly urged me to stay. I was the one progressive in leadership, and they looked to me to provide what little opposition to conservative policies that could be made … The kicker was that Gorio had enjoyed his stay at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Reno – the lights and faux-luxury was fun for him. He too wanted me to stay on … So, it looks like I’ll stay in leadership with NACo for a third year (at least) – doing what I can to represent the liberal politics of Telluride and San Miguel County, at little or no cost to county taxpayers beyond our normal CCI dues (and in these hard times, that’s very important) … If any of you have issues relating to public lands management, especially involving gateway communities (like Norwood, Ophir, Mountain Village or Telluride), please let me know.STEEL VALLEY
… That’s the name of a great new book of poems and essays from Colorado poet extraordinaire, Michael Adams – one of the legendary Order of Fire Gigglers and a Talking Gourd poet. It’s a book about growing up in Pittsburgh, back when the steel mills and blast furnaces ruled the town. It’s great work and he’s a great reader … Michael’s coming to Telluride to perform at the Wilkinson Library on Monday, Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. (thanks to Scott Doser) … And then in Norwood on Tuesday, Aug. 3 at the Livery starting at 7:30 p.m. (thanks to Jacqueline Hudson of the Arts, Community and Education of Norwood) … Catch one of them, or both! Highly recommended.
THE TALKING GOURDSex Happens everywhere
with every breath
when you're in love with air
as now, when lilacs
their delicious aroma share
or when you fall in love with light
on a beach on a summer day
or sailing on water or on streams
and the warmth beats down
and sun dazzles as in vision or in dreams
or when you fall in love with night
and the thin sickle of the moon
hangs low in the sky
piercing your eye
your heart, and every essential part
Sex happens. Everywhere.
Clinton, N.J.A philosopher and teacher, I met Amy Hannon through the Bioregionalist movement that I first learned about through Peter Berg of the Planet Drum Foundation (who spoke in Telluride and Norwood several years ago). She has managed to infuse her life with ritual and community-building, and has been a personal inspiration to me on how to gracefully combine the world of spirit with the world of matter. Dolores LaChapelle would have loved this poem.