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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Up Bear Creek / 11aug50011

Bioregionalist visionary passes

PETER BERG … One of my San Francisco heroes, Peter Berg died last month, surrounded by his family. He was one of the Haight-Ashbury’s original Diggers who did street theater and handed out free food in the Sixties, along with Peter Coyote and Emmett Grogan. Peter’s Planet Drum Foundation played a big part in exposing me to the concepts of Bioregionalism and Reinhabitation – two big picture ideas that have been guiding factors in my own life path ever since … His Listening to the Earth Conference in 1976 was seminal in leading me to Earth First!, the Green Party and Deep Ecology … I was delighted to bring Peter to Telluride for Mountainfilm in 2006. He gave a talk in Telluride, and then led a workshop for many interested participants in Norwood … He was a visionary and both a gifted writer and speaker … Our condolences go out to his wife Judy Goldhaft and his daughter Ocean.

ELLEN ROBERTS … Glad she’s getting to make it around to the communities in the 6th State Senatorial district, as she writes in her most recent legislative report. I still haven’t met the woman, though I’ve heard good reports about her reasonable stands as a Western Slope Rancher Republican … We haven’t met yet. So, I hesitate to say too much. But I can’t help feeling a bit disappointed, given that Sen. Bruce Whitehead accomplished so much in the legislature in a brief year, and came to so many meetings in our county. There’s never been a state pol since Dan Noble who’s spent that much time along the San Miguel River as Whitehead … I sure hope Sen. Roberts can help Telluride, Norwood, Ophir and Egnar in these tough economic times, when unfunded mandates from the state require county and municipal taxpayers to backfill costs, or give up some essential public function.

POST OFFICE … I think we’re between worlds … The U.S. Postal Service was once an essential government function. It served as the handmaid of capitalism, allowing private business to flourish. It wasn’t supposed to pay its own way, but rather be one of those services subsidized for the public good … Cyberspace has changed all that. Invisible megabytes pulse through our bodies & appear on our screen, as if by magic … An anachronism, nevertheless the mail still fills an advertising niche, dropped into the lap of your home. And for the romantic, snail mail correspondence is a bottle spin on a sea of stamp collections … Losing Ophir, Egnar and Rico signals, for me, the start of service cutbacks -- as the downturn turns runaway … Perhaps the future primitive era Dolores LaChapelle saw coming is here.

ELINOFF GALLERY … Great to see interesting sculpture like the bronze mushroom table set and bigger-than-life-size frog on the Main St. sidewalk in front of the Elinoff Gallery … Wish that Telluride had more public street art.

RADIATION … It was an eye-opener to visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and measure my estimated radiation burden … OMSI put things into an interesting perspective. Millirems are thousands of a rem, which is the unit of measurement of Roentgen Equivalents in Man. Under 50 rems is considered subclinical, and usually produces only changes in one’s blood. 50 to 200 is “may cause illness but is rarely fatal.” Most exposures are measured in millirems, thousands of rems … X-rays are a big dose, about 50 millirems. Dental x-rays are small, averaging one millirem. Living at high altitudes, like we do, is another big dose. I found I probably had a millirem dose of about 450 millirems per year, given where I live and my lifestyle and health choices … Of course, given what’s happening (unseen) in our atmosphere from Fukushima, who knows what the real exposure is?

ADDICTED TO DEBT … Sen. Michael Bennet sent out an email a couple weeks back titled “The Courage to Solve our Debt Problem the Right Way” and agreed that entitlements and revenue both have to be addressed -- unless our political leaders want to duck the obvious drivers to the national debt crisis. To say that social programs and new taxes are off the table is just partisan gamesmanship … And yet, it’s illustrative to view a graph Jaime Dunn of New Mexico posted on his Facebook page (and I on mine). The graph shows the debt (and the debt ceiling) increasing on ALL the last Repub presidents (including Reagan) and decreasing under each Dem prez since Carter (until Obama) … Don’t trust Repub rhetoric. They talk fiscal responsibility and consistently fail to practice it. And then promise us working class folks trickle-down jobs for refusing to tax the rich, while corporations and CEOs make record profits, including the very banks that got us into this current mess. The only trickledown I’m seeing are the ruling elites pissing on the poor,


Solstice Solo

(for Lew Welch)

climb alone red rocks
pristine hill top
above bay downtown buildings
pull conch shell from bag
blast to find sweet spot
sunset fires spreading
in office windows

how to play for people
from before, are now or to come
uninstructed in chill Pacific wind
on longest summer day

gold dome sparks rose sky
plaintive toots raise heads
quick shakes Amazon rattle
Mediterranean tambourine elbow smacks
look crazy keeping balance

-Peter Berg
San Francisco
June 21, 2003

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