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Monday, May 28, 2012

Up Bear Creek / 10may25012

Telluride loses one of its stars

SHARON SHUTERAN … Sad news to learn of the Sharon’s passing in Mexico. Our county judge was one of those bedrock locals who defined what was different about Telluride. What was unique … In the courtroom she had immense patience and went out of her way (I thought) to explain the law clearly and fairly to all who came before her. For years I’ve attended her court sessions. Sometimes as a prospective juror or spectator. Once on the jury through a trial. Another time sitting in on a family member’s hearing. For a couple years I served as one of the state appointees to the District’s Judicial Review Commission that gets to monitor and “grade” judges – so, I had the privilege of sitting in judgment as Sharon came up for review before the panel and answered our questions and critiqued her own behavior behind the gavel. Colorado is lucky to have such a fair system, where no one, not even judges, are immune to citizen review, but at the same time are not forced to buy their way into office, as was the case in Colorado at one time … All these years and I have to say, every time I entered or left Judge Shuteran’s court, I was impressed. To me she was a model judge … But that was only her official capacity. I also knew her socially, and she was a fine spirit. Interested in many things, a good storyteller, with a witty smile and a long history here, including running the old Excelsior Café, in the early days, when even staying in town could be touch and go. She loved to talk politics. Travel. The arts. I always marveled how she kept her private life private, with its own set of parameters, and her public life public, making decisions based on the law. Her integrity was unquestioned … It’s not often that a public official can serve the people so well, especially in the difficult intricacies of the judicial system, and still lead a vibrant, happy life as a full community member … Sharon, we miss you.

Prepping a field at Cloud Acre

PASTORAL LIFE … This spring, more than any other in my memory, I’ve been unable to sit behind a computer and trade emails … Imagine getting 100 a day – it’s unsustainable. If you’ve emailed me and haven’t got a message back, better go back to the telephone. I can’t seem to keep current in cyberspace anymore. It’s just not possible … But this year, at Cloud Acre, everything’s possible -- with water. For years I’ve been trying to perfect my growing system for my private spud patch experimental station, where I grow upwards of 50 varieties of potato …That’s right, 50+. I cultivate about three or four plants of each variety, and end up with 300 or 400 mounds – depending on how many potatoes I plant for myself to eat and how many to trade or sell to others. Of course, since I’m only a part-time agriculturalist and I depend on the vagaries of the weather, I lose a bunch to drought, flood, long trips, benign neglect, a failure to weed, hail, bugs, deer, and the goddess remembers what else. Farming is not for the faint of heart … But after I froze the old pond pump, it was only last year that I’d gotten my new pump outfitted with quick release couplings and fixed (actually a couple of fixes by very compassionate neighbors over the course of several break-in seasons) and once finally took spring advantage of my junior water right (thank you Wayne Goin) to the Goodtimes Waste Ditch as it flows into Foster Pond of the Maverick Draw drainage, thence into Naturita Creek, and down to the lower San Miguel River in Montrose County. Mid-April’s when it started to warm up enough this year to start Spring’s great greening up. But it still freezes over at night in early Spring. And I’d already lost one pump and several past years’ water trying to irrigate too early … This year, the quick release system let me make use of my pond allotment in the day, disengage the pump each night as the pond recharges, and hook up each morning. This year, color me Spring green.

SCIENCE NEWS … I mean it blows me away. Most o’ my private life I’ve spent deep in that right-brain intuitive-creative poet space that is my Budadaist Yogic Rainbow path. But maybe it’s the past 16 years of public service, trying to keep local government local, and away from big, or partisan, or deeply indebted, that’s made me crave science. Facts, not the fickle sway of people aroused (which, of course, in a democracy, has its place) … Anyway, I find myself at sixty-six devouring the science zines. Scientific American, in its third year in my mailbox … We’re in the middle of a party and suddenly I’m explaining the newest physics on gluons and gravitrons to my wizard Ed Joe Draw neighbor … Tonight, it’s the low-brow Science News, whose scope of popular scan summarizes hundreds of discoveries, rather than just the monthly in-depth look at a scholarly dozen or so … The rare metal Iridium has been fingered in a new catalytic process to store and transport hydrogen at low temperatures and pressures – it could be a huge breakthrough for hydrogen-fueled autos … And I learned a new word – Alkanofer \al-Kan-o-fer\ A subsurface body made of liquid alkanes, molecules such as methane and ethane that contain only single-bonded carbon and hydrogen atoms. Found on the surface of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Analogous to an underground aquifer on Earth.

KATHY MCDONOUGH … Marty Hollinbeck sparked a community benefit for our good friend McDonough whose home in Naturita burnt down this winter. Two Candles rocked with the Spor Brothers and friends and lots of volunteers, and featured an outpouring of family and neighbors coming for the silent auction, food and bake sales to help Kathy start to rebuild. Tradesfolk have signed up to help with construction, bless ‘em.

Blue Cuddle basket for Kathy


The Mistake

the joy of catching and fixing
the mistake
when writing out the new date
and notice the flow and spin
to change a zero (almost a 9)
to a ten by fronting a one
welcome now to twenty ten

-Danny Rosen
on the cusp of 2009/2010

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Up Bear Creek 3may25012

Up Bear Creek

by Art Goodtimes

"Spider Woman" Norwood Livery Show #9

On the road to New Mexico
Arizona & Colorado

PHOENIX … I took my youngest boy down to this Arizona metropolis to catch a plane to Hawaii – his Telluride Mountain School experiential trip. The lucky tyke. The furthest I remember going on a “class trip” (as we called “experientials” in my day) was Alum Rock Park in San Jose – about 20 miles from my Mountain View school … I’m excited to learn all the Big Island haunts he’s visiting, and especially his snorkeling investigation of coral – his class project … But, omygoddess, Phoenix! I had no idea. It’s huge beyond all measure (or sanity) – I mean, it’s the desert, for goodness sakes. I hadn’t been there for 30 years, and then as a hitchhiker, without wheels. Now, I drove around in various circles, putting in miles on the freeways finding our obscure hotel in Tempe, a “beach” park connected with a stagnant lake, and trying to maneuver the ever busy streets. When did it become the 6th largest city in the nation with a population of almost a million and a half people? And if you measure metro areas, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale registers as 13th in the nation with just over 4 million. Denver-Aurora-Boulder is 16th with just under 3 million … It was exciting driving over from New Mexico along Interstate 40 to Holbrook, and then taking smaller highways through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and down through Payson. We knew we were coming close when we wound down through mountains with giant saguaros everywhere – a most impressive site. But the desert floor soon clogged with pavement and buildings and miles and miles of development … Once I dropped the boy off with his classmates and chaperones, I took off for Flagstaff, where I spent the night and had breakfast. I’d lived there, on someone’s front porch, after the Rainbow Gathering in 1979, staying a couple months. It too had changed, grown bigger, but it was recognizable, and manageable. I’ve always had a soft spot for Flag, and the nearby San Francisco peaks … Met a slightly younger version of my bearded paleohippie self at the motel I stayed at, and almost ferried the stranger up to our neck of the woods. He was tempted, and I had room. But he was worried his “Cricket” wouldn’t work in the mountains, and he made his living on phone sales. So he passed up the chance … Which worked out as I gave a Navajo hitchhiker a ride to Cameron from Flag. He was my age, exactly, although he looked a bit older. Had waited a long time for a ride. Said lots of Navajo drove by him in their pickups, which was kind of sad. We had a nice talk. Said they were closing the post office in Cameron, where he lived on the Rez, and he was having to go to a bank in Flag to get his Social Security check. It sounded obtuse. But this was Arizona. And when it comes to social services, no manner of rude and inhospitable behavior would surprise me.

Mark Walsh explaining the Albuquerque Basin to Rio (left) and Gorio) on the slopes of Sandia Peak

 ALBUQUERQUE … Or “Burque”, as the locals like to say … On the way down, Gregorio Oshá and I made a swing through New Mexico’s biggest city (small chiles by Phoenix standards) to visit with Number One Son (and Gorio’s older brother) – Rio Coyotl. And to see an old friend of Dolores LaChapelle – Mark Walsh. 
Blooming cactus on the slopes of Sandia

Mark led us on a lovely hike through the desert foothill spring flora of Sandia Peak, an oasis of wild above a basin filling in with development (if not on the scale of Arizona’s red hot growth spots). We feasted on barbequed salmon and had a bit of an adventure, coming back from a quick visit to Rio’s bachelor pad and unable to get inside Mark’s seemingly locked door (it wasn’t) and not wanting to wake anyone up (they were waiting for us). We ended up sleeping on pads on the lovely back deck under windy skies – one of those traveling adventures that you’d never do on purpose, but look back on kind of fondly. Roughing it, as Mom would say.

Susan, Gorio and Susan's dogs hiking off into Canyons of the Ancients in McElmo Canyon

MCELMO CANYON … Part of our discomfort might have been the royal digs we’d enjoyed the night before Burque, visiting my friend Susan Thomas in McElmo Canyon. Having just built a most amazing home right across from Battle Rock, my boy and I enjoyed a separate lock-off apartment under the main house that we stayed in – beds, breakfast and another lovely hike on a trail into the Canyon of the Ancients Monument – accessed through a gate along her back fence … Susan has a daughter, Francesca, who’s Gorio’s age, and who has horses – has had her own horse since she was born. It’s been a while since I was around (barely) teen-age girls, so it was fun, all of us telling stories and sharing tales.

Commissioner Pete McKay speaking at the Mining Conference

SILVERTON … Getting back to Colorado was no relief from traveling. I made a blitzkrieg visit to the Silverton Caldera and the San Juan Hardrock Mining and Water Quality Conference sponsored by Mountain Studies Institute at the Kendall Mountain Recreation Center. Some 25 years after the Idarado Superfund Cleanup, I got an opportunity to explain what a unique and successful settlement it turned out to be. Having been on Gov. Romer’s local committee that managed a win-win-win for Newmont Mining Company, Telluride/San Miguel County, and the environment … It’s a good story, and folks there seemed to enjoy it … 

Mobile at LaChapelle Park

My buddy, Commissioner Pete McKay, who’s also running for re-election this year, took me for a visit to LaChapelle Park that was created just north of town to honor its famous resident. It’s a beautiful spot, with signs leading folks up to a bluff for a grand view of the town and a lovely stone circle, with pictures of Dolores, David and Ed tucked into a niche in the rock.

LEWIS-ARRIOLA … That’s one of the stops between Cortez and Dove Creek and the middle school gym was where the Lower DoloresPlan Working Group has been trying to hammer out a collaborative alternative to Wild & Scenic designation for the Dolores River. It’s a several year process, but the group is close to making a recommendations, although there are still some boundary and fish issues to work out. It’s been an amazing process. Peter Mueller gave an eloquent talk about collaboration, and it’s amazing to see Repubs and Demcrats, conservatives and liberals, ranchers and enviros all working closely together – singing the praises of having everyone at the table. It makes you realize. Government may not work on the national or state levels, but locally and regionally we seem to do pretty good.

URANIUM DRIVE-IN … Suzan Beraza used Kickstarter to raise over $5000 to start work on her Uranium Drive-In documentary. I was a proud contributor … West End folks are also trying to raise money to save their old Uranium Drive-In sign. It once stood on the road outside the drive-in itself -- on the hill above Naturita.. I remember watching a film at that drive-in when I came to the region 30 years ago. I may not be a fan of uranium mining or nuclear power, but I do love the history of a region – and the sign seemed to sum up a lot about the West End, where uranium mining was such an important historical boom (and bust). The sign itself is a classic drive-in come-on. It bounced around the region. Sat in front of a hilltop gas station in Nucla for a while. Now a Restoration Team has set up a site on Indiegogo and have raised over half their goal of $10,000 dollars to try and restore the sign and put it on public display. They only have a couple weeks left to meet their goal. I’ve donated to the cause. Check it out and send them a donation.


Recombinant Physics

Let us not
the hope of wreckage, the
strength of shattering.

That which breaks
can mend with stronger bond.
re-arrange into new wholes
mosaic into patterns new.
Splinters sand to dovetail, dado,
and groove.
Unbonded elements regroup, reform, reforge.

But that which sits in
safe or wary neglect,
that which fades and crumbles
into dust,
can only blow away.

-Matt Ozier
Lawson Hill