Saturday, February 28, 2009

America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, take 17

America's Red Rock Wilderness Act is about to take center stage again. SUWA provides several links and general information about the act, which has been floating around for some time now. It has been nurtured by several fierce and tenacious political advocates, and of course many unknown people just like you and me.

The current administration, far more friendly to our lands than the last joke (uh, I mean administration), shows convincing signs of being very receptive to the passage of this act. As the SUWA page says, "The 111th Congress represents a real opportunity to gather the support and momentum needed to hold congressional hearings and ultimately pass America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act." That is a refreshing thought that certainly causes hope to beat wildly in my chest.

Wilderness At the Edge: A Citizen Proposal to Protect Utah's Canyons and Deserts was published years ago in an attempt to represent enormous concerned citizen effort to raise awareness--and save the red rock lands they loved. The message got through to some people in power, and those people still champion the need to protect and preserve these lands.
Take a moment. Contact your representatives (see this link for information on how to do that) and share your voice with them. Remember: if the people we chose to represent us do not hear our voices, they can't fight for what we want.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

jump ship and save yourself

Ah...I've been a bad poster this month. Life getting in the way and all that. As they say, crap happens. Some days, it's just more crap than usual.

Wandering the crowded southern California landscape as I have been of late, I notice many things about its bipedal denizens. What strikes me most is the air of urgency, of entitlement, and of myopic vision. That is, many seem to see only what's right in front of them--blocking their way--and do not take time to really be in the moment. To really see their surroundings. To understand that the suffocating concrete wilderness that they call home is perhaps a trap; even more, to understand that it is one of their own making.

Sometimes people here do not seem to be really living. They're existing, sure. But are they paying attention to their own existence? Do they really know who they are and what the heck they're doing, as they zoom and carom around, pinging off one another with barely an honest glance, intent on hurrying to the goal of--what, exactly? The all-powerful god of mass consumerism? Getting through the day in order to fall insensate before the altar of surround sound and 24-hour satellite channels beamed in from around this frantically spinning globe?

I want to reach out. I want to hug someone with jumpy, flat eyes, and say, Go. Go to a truly wild spot, one with fresh air and solitude and a tree with which you can commune in silence for an hour. Remove yourself from the madding crowd for just a moment, and blunder and stumble your way back to who you really are.

Perhaps then we can really talk. Perhaps then you will meet my eyes and look at me, really see me, and allow yourself a deep, cleansing breath as you pause in the midst of the chaos we call modern life.

Or maybe not.

Monday, February 09, 2009

dusting oneself off & movin' right along redux

Time for an oldie but a goodie. This posted originally in November 2007, which seems an eon ago. It resonates with me at the moment for several reasons. Yes, I have once again destroyed my laptop. (Just a little incident involving a jumping mug of tea...) Yes, I freaked out. Yes, it has been a lesson in humility, loss, and eternal querying (Really? Again? Why me? Etc.). Yes, I had to speak to the Disembodied Technical Voices in India over the phone, which meant lack of clarity on, I suspect, both ends.

Have I learned something? Good grief, I hope so. In the meantime, I still write...and actually, I have slowed down a litle bit and am enjoying other things beside my laptop. Bizarre, no? (Says the passionate advocate for the wild spaces and getting out of our own heads and away from people-stuff such as technology. Snort!)

Here it is:

This whole laptop-has-crashed-and-burned-in-a-mighty-conflagration thing is, as usual, providing me windows of opportunity I might have otherwise missed. (Despite the fact that I really did not want this sort of window--or maybe, come to think of it, because of it? Hmm...philosophical brain twisting in the morning.) Some of the windows include these gems:

1) Forced to either write on my friend's computer (which is okay, but I tend to keep my writing very private and secured), or by hand, such as journaling more. Ah, the old-fashioned way. It does bring the writer closer to the words themselves, makes me think about my choices more carefully, because there is no delete button, nor a backspace....There is only commitment.

2) Strongly encouraged to stop freaking out about this potential loss and simply enjoy what I do have, which is plenty: loving family, generous friends, a spectacular place in which to live at the moment, my mind and its endless machinations & cool new ideas, on and on the list goes. I really am blessed--just have to remind myself of that at times.

3) More time to read! Watch movies! Hike during this amazing fall weather, which is perfect! Talk to friends and acquaintances! Visit and play with my horse! Practice yoga & meditation! Etc., etc. Gifts, indeed.

4) Space to explore the quiet, patient side that I generally lack. I have been a downright hermit lately, and it's been grand.A friend (thanks, Dan) sent me a quote I want to share here, because it's really apt in this moment:

"Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito wing that falls on the rails."

I'm letting nutshells and mosquito wings veer me off-course, which is silly. Things happen, and we all really do go on--just perhaps not in the way we expected before the calamitous event. Another friend pointed out my ability to find gifts in the challenging moments, which was a great compliment and meant a lot to me (thanks, Shelley!).

One last gem, the kind that will nurture me for years to come: the other day, I was sitting in a local coffee shop with a friend, grousing a bit about the unpredictable nature of the wilderness therapy industry and proclaiming my own personal doneness with it. Then one of my recent students from the field, one I'd worked with for two shifts (16 days), came in with his parents. He'd graduated, and they'd just finished up their family workshop. I met his folks, noted how centered the student seemed, and we had a brief conversation.

And during that short time, he said to me not once but twice, "Thank you, Julie." And I heard and saw the sincerity resonating through his every fiber, and it just meant so much to me, and brought that sort of smile to my face that can only come from the recognition of right action, of having done something well that touched another life in the most positive of ways. And my last week out with that particular group had been so, so difficult! You never really know how your presence affects another.

At any rate, I want to thank broken laptops (sigh), unforeseen opportunities, a young man named Thomas, and my dear friends, all of whom have helped me in these past weeks to get up, brush off the dust, and just keep going, even if the smile has sometimes slipped from my face.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Salazar's doin' ok by me so far; or, oil & gas leases cancelled

Cool beans: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar put the kibosh on the oil & gas leases today. Yippee! Although it only involves the 77 parcels that were up for grabs in the "fire sale" back in December, that's a tremendous victory for us desert rats and otherwise suspicious-of-greedy-oil-company types.

Unfortunately for that brave (foolish? Your thoughts?) activist Tim deChristopher, Salazar's decision does not have any bearing on his case. Of course, I say just let the kid go and let's spawn an entire future of sales-disrupting activism to spring up--but I'm also a bit biased.

Well, blow me down with a feather, or something like that. No oil & gas drilling near gorgeous areas? Near where I, or my friends, or our descendants might like to roam, unobstructed of view and lung? Sounds pretty damn peachy keen to me. HA!

Take it on the nose, o greedmongers out there. The people roared, they were heard, and they were righteous in this victory. (Sorry, I'm feeling a bit punchy today. Need to lash out at someone!) As Sharon Buccino, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in the WaPo article linked above, "We can have energy security without sacrificing the West's wild places."

Yeehaw. I might need to celebrate a little. :)