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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 28apr50011


Norwood’s Elle Metrick honored for poetry

SAN MIGUEL POET LAUREATE … At the risk of infuriating one of our county curmudgeons who find little to praise anywhere they look and everything to criticize, it’s wonderful to see the County honoring poet and editor Elle Metrick for her fine writing, her performance chops -- both solo and with the poetry ensemble EAR, her success in forming a monthly poetry circle through ACE of Norwood, and her overall devotion to the lyric valuables … She takes the mantle from Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer of Placerville, who served two terms: 2006-2010 … There’s no money involved. No sinecure. It’s just a way to honor one of the many arts that enrich our lives. Poetry. Dance. Theater … Would that we created more awards for those that bring beauty out into the open air.

SOUR GRAPES… It’s curious to see a citizen in our neighboring county railing against Ouray County Commissioner Lynn Padgett for using county travel money for honing her leadership skills. She’s already proved her worth to citizens there by winning election to the National Association of Counties … Our state association (CCI) collects dues from counties with public land within their boundaries (San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose all pay into that CCI fund, and have for over a decade). The money is used to pay expenses for eight commissioners from around the state’s 64 counties to go to NACo meetings in DC and to an annual meeting at different place around the country (this year in Portland). I’ve represented San Miguel County at NACo for ten of the last 13 years. Montrose has had representatives for much of the last decade. Ouray County hadn’t made the cut for one of the eight seats, until Commissioner Padgett’s election last year. That gives her the chance to lobby Senators and Congresspeople for issues important to Ouray County, with no additional cost to the citizens than a fee they’ve been paying for years. And in the process she (and Ouray County) have become leaders on the regional and state level … To kibitz because Padgett wants to develop even better executive skills at a leadership conference (which is non-partisan and has nothing to do with subsidizing anyone’s “political development”) – with money budgeted for an annual CCI meeting that only one of the Ouray commissioners can attend -- demonstrates either a lack of understanding on the part of this Wojciechowski fellow, or just more of the same petty partisan politics from Ouray’s hardcore Republextremists.

TELLURIDE AT RISK? … I’ve never heard anyone talk about this, but imagine this scenario reported on by Jeffrey St. Clair in Counterpunch last month: “An October 2000 report from the Sandia Labs in Albuquerque painted a grim picture of the consequences from a pool fire. The report, which was kept under wraps for years by the NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission], found that “a waste pool fire could spread radioactive debris over a 500-mile radius, including Cesium-137, a carcinogen linked to birth defects and genetic damage” … Volcanic eruption. Meteorite. Terrorist attack. Who’s knows what (next) could trigger a “worst case scenario” in New Mexico’s Sandia Labs? … The driving distance from ‘Bourque to Telluride? Three hundred and fifty-five miles. By air it’s 206 … So, let the spinmeisters tell you it’s an acceptable level of danger. That the chances are nil. The odds astronomical … But the truth is, Southwestern Colorado isn’t out of possible harm’s way. We are well within multiple rings of radioactive fallout from existing nuclear reactors -- in a worst case scenario … This is the true risk. As assessed by the regulators … We could call ourselves a “nuclear-free-zone” until we’re blue in the face. It might make us feel smug, but it’s no protection in case the “impossible” happens. As we’ve been warned by the regulators, it could.

SAWPIT MERCANTILE … Telluride Bud Company wasn’t the only local business that slipped through the cracks in our competitor’s “open-for-off-season” listing. Downvalley, the good folks in Sawpit wanted customers to know they’re open for business all through off-season this year … Plus, they have an added attraction. The last time I stopped there to shop (they have some of the more curious gourmet food items for sale, not to be found elsewhere), I saw a herd of almost a dozen Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep ewes (they look like Mountain Goats with their short horns, but they aren't the pure white of goats). I watched, riveted, as they dashed up a butte to a lone sentinel who had been standing guard as the herd crossed over the road from the river. Stop, shop and see if you can catch sight of Ovis canadensis canadensis

STARTLED … Walking by the barn and sheds on my way back to the house from my studio at Cloud Acre the other day, I heard flapping and looked up. A big-winged bird soared above me just over the roofs of the outbuildings … A owl? No, bigger. An eagle? No, it had gray plumage and long trailing feet. Suddenly I realized it was a Great Blue Heron. It was the closest I’d ever been to that reclusive critter … Amazingly, it hadn’t seen or heard me. It glided a hundred feet to my small pond and disappeared behind a living fence of red willows … I was outside an working. I wanted to do some spring mowing before the sun went down, but I weeded instead for 10-15 minutes. Finally, I figured I’d wander down to the pond and see if the heron was still there, before I kicked over my lawnmower’s engine … I got about 10 yards from the pond, came around a berm and this magnificent bird with a huge wingspan lifted up from feasting on my pond’s minnows and sailed into the thick spring air.

THE TALKING GOURD

Alamos, Sonora

We walked into the small café
to see the Master Shaman
surrounded by eager apprentices
in the corner booth
Their rapt attention     focused
on his hands
as he compressed
the energy between his palms
tighter             tighter
A sudden sharp snap
of wrist and shoulder
he flung it down
off the center of the table
a steel ball-bearing
off hard formica
KATAK!

My juggler’s hand
shot up and out
instantly calculating
angle and trajectory
to save the customers
to save the crockery
to save the day!
A short-stop’s stretching catch
the ground-hop ball still spinning
sizzling in the glove
At that sharp metallic sound
surprised patrons spun around
to see       me staring
into my shocked
and empty
palm

-Lightning Heart
No Name, Colorado

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