Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Riding the Pony Express trail

This was my Entry to this years adventure journal competition for Leap Local, enjoy :)
I was working in Northern Nevada when I heard the pony express trail was not far away. My heart pounded with excitement. I have dreamed of this trail since I was a child, the famous painting of a lone cowboy bent over his saddle riding hard as Indians pursued him was never far from my mind. I immediately went to find a map of the trails. I just stood and stared at the ink on the wall, dreaming of what an adventure this would be, as if I would be on assignment carrying mail through lands which once equaled that of Afghanistan. I made a plan to visit the trail after work, somehow thinking that 12 hour days working in the desert were not enough and I could magically transport myself to that trail and ride like the legend I am in my own mind. Of course it was not to be. At the end of each day I would cough up sand, spit dirt, and wash off mud; drinking my beer and eating my dinner next to the fire at my campsite I would stare into the flames making promises to spirits that soon I would ride alongside them.
Finally, I drove towards Las Vegas, my eyes scanning every intersecting roadway for the trail. I knew it was here, somewhere. Had I bothered actually reading the map instead of letting my mind tear into adventure mode, I would have known I was an easy hour from the trail. By the time I found it, I was actually surprised to see it, my mind dull from driving and my body already tired from hard weeks working under the sun. I simply almost drove past it, blinking at the sign waiting for my mind to send messages to my foot to simply STOP GENIUS!! My sister’s dogs ran ahead, sniffing about, their noses telling them a story of the area. As my sister talked to my foggy, excited brain I did not hear as I clamored to unload my bike. "You know you don’t have much time before dark" was the only sentence I heard and I replied with "yea, well, whatever", the classic male response most often used when a grunt is not so appropriate and adventure beckons.
Off I went, crap, shoe lace caught on a peddle, noo, noo this cannot be, a snag damn YOU, Indians are about!!! Off again, pausing only to take one picture, my bike leaning against a sign, like a flag from a conqueror of new land loudly proclaiming "I WAS HERE". I peddled on, observing every bush, every tree, trying to imagine what it must have been like to ride through on horseback, waiting for ambush, spurs at the ready to dig into the horses’ side and take me from danger. My ears listened intently to each bird as their chirps became drowsy. I looked at an old fire ring through the moss-covered trees and wondered if some lone mail carrier had slept in that spot over a century ago.
The shadows crept in as the sun dipped below the horizon and I knew I had to head back, but no, no I was not finished, my mind still craved adventure. Look how the road goes up and over that mountain! I promised myself I would be back. As the wind pushed against me on my quick decent home, I knew that a life-long goal had been achieved, for I had finally ridden the Pony Express trail, every boys’ dream!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When spirits talk

So tonight I was going out to plug in the Christmas lights Mom helped me hang  last year, scratch that, encouraged me to put up last Christmas when she was staying with me. She was adament that I actually do more for Christmas than put up my little fake tree and Lighted Town Dad bought for me a Decade ago. So we had went out and just hung a bit, mainly on the Little Tree in the front Grandpa had planted years ago and was so proud of for some reason. He was fascinated that we could make a tree grow so it did not need to be trimmed.  I have Pandora playing and was listening to classical music station, as I walk about looking for a hat grumbling under my breath the cat had decided to use my beanie for a cat scratcher, "Somewhere over the rainbow" by Israel came on just as I was to walk out the door, that is one of the Songs we had played at Moms Funeral.
I know that spirits talk to us all the time but we seemingly cannot hear them unless they play a song, maybe place an old card where we will find it at a special time. Really it would be nice if we could simply just sit down and have a conversation again, I guess that is just something we are not capable of until we change form as well. Whatever the case we remember, those songs, cards, notes, all of it means something to us and brings forth their memory again, that is what it really is all about.
Now I must go and listen to the gentle winter breeze and feel the moons soft glow upon my shoulders as I light up my little world.

Friday, December 9, 2011

When will it end?

Growing up I remember looking out the window of our car seeing the wasteland created from copper smelting. That wasteland was exasperated by plant life which would no longer grow, tree’s that had long since been harvested leaving the hills barren, arsenic laying  atop the soil, and huge Mountains of Slag which the wind would kick up into mighty arsenic infested slag storms, so powerful we would have to pull over do to the “black out” and wait for it to subside. 
Since then the Smelter has long since closed, and much of the land reclaimed, the hills have slowly been covered again by vegetation yet tree’s still struggle to take hold, all is well as Hades now begins to look as the paradise it once was, or is it just an Illusion?
Through it all the area suffers from an incredibly high cancer rate, the price of mining materials for the rest of society to live on apparently. The area boasts the worlds largest reclamation site as waste soil from around the western part of the state is hauled into the area and jobs are created because of it. Grass seeds are spread about the mixed top soil and the land begins to look better. Yet beneath it all still lays much of the old pollutants, beneath it all still runs water, and those pollutants slowly leach back into the unprotected ground.  In the neighboring city is Butte, which boasts another wonder of the world, the worlds largest open pit mine, there are billboards and a viewing area where visitors may stand and see the mighty feet, for it truly is. But as you stand upon the viewing area you look upon acid lake, and see nothing save a large hole slowly filling with water and a meager pump house struggling to find a way to purify the water, almost like a child using a straw to filter the ocean. Local officials and the mine assures us the water is contained and soon we will have more purification centers to deal with the deadly water. They point out that the mine is a major employer and miners are receiving unprecedented pay, the local economy depends upon it and we should be grateful.
I agree, we should be, the computer upon which I type on only exists as a result of mining, actually everything in my house has some aspect of a mined mineral in it, be it electrical, to dry wall, to the door knobs. Yet somehow that knowledge is not enough, for the knowledge that someday we will have to come to terms with the Devil over the pollutants nags at my mind. Someday those pollutants will leach into our ground water and effect us all. Its not enough that we have endured decades of  wind carrying arsenic from the old Hades planes, so now we must ingest it. The mining industry is not alone,  the oil companies pour chemicals into the ground to assist in drilling and “fracking” slowly those chemicals are being detected in ground water while scientists argue over man made global warming. Seriously people, global warming? How about global polluting? How about we take a stand and use the old hippy adage “what about our childrens children” and really take that to heart?
Well we are trying they insist as the green movement is pushed, “solar and wind panels will save us, and well nuclear boasts the safest record of any form of energy” they heartily tout. Not true, the green movment still depends upon mining and unfortunately its entire design requires more land than anything else in order to produce energy. The nuclear plants I would say are green merely because of their compact size compared to other forms of energy. Yet their safety record is absolutely horrid when you consider the results from a catastrophe from that will last us thousands of years. Think about that, should a plant split in two for dozens of generations your offspring will be effected by those pollutants. Oh it can never happen many will say, well it already has in a understated Chernobyl  where scientists are only now coming to terms with the fact that hundreds of thousands of Europeans suffer from leukemia and other cancers caused from that horrible event. Japan in all its pride building cars beating their chests of superior craftsmanship have their own Chernobyl, actually, Fukishurma is at least 10 times worse than Chernobyl, and the soft spoken Japanese have failed to do one thing the Russians did, and that is to contain their horror. Instead Fukishurma bellows radioactive waste into the atmosphere and water.
Yes say the hippies, this is what we are talking about, but wait, I am  not done, in the pacific ocean we have what is affectionately called the “great pacific garbage patch” where all those plastics and bottled water collect from the currents, the area is so polluted  the plastic extends from the surface to the ocean floor, it covers an entire continent. The media ignores it or puts forth some blurb and instead article after article on global warming is put forth, and later countered.  More CO2 debating as the green movement pushes its cause laying forth its own new form of pollution only to gain more money as well.
Cant we at some time as adult civilized rational beings merely stop and look around us? My god what are we doing to ourselves? Is money to spend on useless gadgets so important that we ignore the causes to our environment? There was a river over a decade ago which actually caught fire, think about that, so much pollution a river caught fire. This cannot continue, technology in the next century will increase by 2000 times over what it did in the previous century, and with that technology will be more mining, more oil, more consumption, more more more.  And here and there some cleanup.
I say bullocks, how about lets start taking care of it all now, we have the ability to clean up much of this and to push for near zero pollution in many area’s so lets take advantage of it. Well the oil and mining companies will fight tooth and nail, some argue. I disagree, cleaning up is a huge cash cow in and of itself and its time we took advantage of it even more so. Rather than spending hundreds of billions of dollars blowing up goat herders in foreign waste lands how about we spend that money giving our children a real future? How about people quit worrying about a football game and start being involved in not only their future, but there children’s future and those beyond. I ask you, what is more important, the record of your favorite football team or the existence of Humanity itself?