POLITICAL ANGELS?… Say, I’ve been invited by the Obamas to attend a White House Conference on Conservation: Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy on March 2 in D.C. It sounds like a good opportunity to get at the front of the line in understanding federal initiatives and funding for tourist resort communities … But the county doesn’t have the $2,500 it will cost in trip expenses. And neither do I … So I thought I’d ask if there’s a political angel out there who might be willing to finance my attendance at this conference. I’d promise to come back and report to the community at a public meeting in the Wilkinson on what I’d learned. I know, it’s a long shot … But if this strikes a chord, call me today in Norwood 327-4767 or catch me at the Green Assembly at the County Meeting Room in the Miramonte Building from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight. The deadline to RSVP is midnight this evening.
CANNABIS INITIATIVE TWO … Michelle May is a Denver activist who is trying to get a different initiative on the ballot that would de facto legalize cannabis use. In her proposal, judges would be legislatively prohibited from sentencing cannabis users to jail in Colorado … If you’re interested, I have a petition that you can sign. Call me.
OPERA … Did you know the Norwood School music teacher Jeff Hemingson sings opera, and well? I didn’t. He performed for us a capella at the Livery in Norwood for the Norwood Travel Club’s delightful “A Night in Italy.” Jeff did a real fine basso profundo (F#) on his first piece, then ranged from Faust to La Boheme, and ended with the spiritual Old Man River, as he walked among the dinner tables … Very impressive.
HEADWATERS … I’ve long been enamored of this annual autumn conference that Western State College in Gunnison hosts. At the end of its three days, we do a Talking Gourds Circle, and people in attendance get to speak from their hearts about what’s on their mind after listening to lots of learned talking heads. Last fall Kathryn Bernier spoke so eloquently, I asked her to share with us her words in the Gourds Circle from last fall. Here they are … “I challenge you to question your values, your beliefs, and most of all your culture. This culture that is a cult we (potentially) blindly follow. And if you settle upon the same set, I congratulate you. And if you find that your entire subset of reality is unfounded…well…I challenge you to start building a culture and a community that is founded in values, beliefs, even science. I challenge you to make difficult change, to be ostracized for going against the grain and the mainstream, to agree to disagree, and to make amends. I challenge you to embrace your strengths and hold your failures tighter to learn from them. I challenge you to not partake in things you don't believe. I challenge you, just as I challenge myself, to create your own reality, and build a new culture.”
WEEKLY QUOTA … Remember old guard Republicans who cared about hunger and peace, even if they didn’t always walk the talk? … “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” – President Dwight D. Eisenhower (April 16, 1953)
THE TALKING GOURD
Poetry Biz in 2012
Drive up to the mountains
On a February eve. Old mining town
Now refurbished with glittery casinos,
Cars, gamblers & buses. County
& its library named for a booster,
Some forgotten knucklehead
Named Gilpin. One of those
Know-it-alls who thought
"rain followed the plow."
No need to listen to John Wesley Powell.
Even then politicians bragged
About making their own reality.
So Powell got the same treatment
James Hanson got from W's White House.
But the library was homey
& I liked reading in front
Of ceramic masks. The host
Recited witty baseball poems.
No one bought a book but a woman
Handed me a very fine drawing
Of a white bearded man
Looking earnest & scholarly
& several said they enjoyed what I did.
Just an old poet trying to be
A public intellectual
In a country
Where most no longer read.