Editor’s Notes for 201320122011201020092008 and 2007.

December 2008

Passing the buck

Small things can make a big difference in how we all survive here. Economics are local and sustainabilty isn’t just about growing our own food—it’s about sustaining our communities during these times of “recession.”

The other day several advertisers paid their bills. I made a deposit at the credit union and paid Will to make iron frames for my Eagle signs. Will picked up some groceries at Curt’s. An employee at Curt’s rented some movies at Black Bear and paid her rent. Her landlord had lunch with friends at the Harvest—the Harvest donated certificates for a Neighbors Helping Neighbors benefit whose recipient bought a load of firewood. The guy selling firewood had a beer at the Palace and saw a massage therapist for his over-worked back. The therapist went to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart sent the money off to China and it was never seen again.

(See Rick Wertz letter)

Seriously though, I had a friend stop by who’s been out of work for awhile and they have no idea how they’ll make it through December—let alone the winter. Our community has been so wonderful in supporting all the good causes that need donations. Bless you. And we also need to keep the jobs we have, and hopefully make some new ones.

As we head into the deep winter and we watch the world around us shift and change we realize that we are in transition—in the underworld being rearranged. Our strength will come from simplicity, community, from really being aware of how we live our lives—being aware of what others are going through and reaching out to lend a hand.

Let’s celebrate our inter connectedness this winter—and stay warm & healthy. Thank you for your support of The Crestone Eagle (subscriptions make great gifts!).

With Blessings at Solstice,

November 2008

Healing & celebration

As I write this editorial, it is the end of October, and certainly, the end or an era. Our country is so hungry for change, so deeply wants to recover its sense of self worth, heal its wounds and create a better future, that I believe that Obama and Biden will win this election.

Yip! yip! yip!

But then what?

We have a lot of work to do. The first of which is healing. Our country suffered a grievous wound on 9/11, and our response to it was not the right one. We invaded a country that was not involved, and we have incurred a karmic debt that will be a long time in paying off. We lost standing in the world and the respect of our allies. It’s time to mend some fences.

As a people, we have been encouraged to be divided. Red against blue and neighbor against neighbor. We have been divided, and conquered.

We must move now from battle ground to common ground. Because, it is so true that during hard times, if we’re united, we will make it through, together.

It’s not up to “the govenment” to bail us out of the mess we’re in. It’s up to us. That is the realistic appeal of Obama—he says that it’s not all about him, but all about you. Change can’t happen if people just go vote and then sit back and say to Congress, “ok, now make it all better.” Ain’t gonna happen that way. Never has. And there won’t be a free ride either—but one we have to make sure goes in the right direction.

I’m very excited about this big shift. I feel a deep sense of joy and a renewal of faith in my beautiful countrymen. May we all finally celebrate November on 5th!

Then let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.

All the best,

October 2008

Why I’m voting for Barack Obama

My main reasons for voting for Barack Omama for president of the United States are:

• He expresses values that resonate with my own. Honesty, compassion for people, service, a belief in the goodness of people, a love of family.

• Team player. He brings people together. We’ve had years of us-against-them. He strengthens our common ground.

• Vision. He is very passionate for new ideas, new technology, better ways for solving our problems. He has a shared dream you can feel the truth of.

• Positive message. He’s not peddling doom and gloom. He’s not trying to scare you into voting for him. He’s realistic and refreshing. He gives me hope.

• He’s intelligent. Well educated, thoughtful and articulate. I really like presidents who are smart. He knows what the words “economy, climate change and diplomacy” mean.

• Strong. He’s no wimp. He won’t go looking for a fight, but I don’t think he’d run from one either if that is what’s called for. Measured strength makes me feel safe.

• Loves women. Raised by a single mother, loves his wife and daughters, understands and supports women.

• Fairness. Has supported equal rights for ALL people.

• Experience. Years as a community organizer solving problems and making lives better. An active leader in the state house and as a US Senator.

• Change. Politics in our country must change in fundamental ways. Enough corruption. Power back to the people.

• Future. He is the best candidate to take this country into the global world of the 21st century. To create a positive future for the next generation.

• And my most important reason? The heart of the man.

Make it so,

September 2008

Change we gotta have

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t bear the thought of another four years like the eight we just had. McCain, who voted with Bush 90% of the time, is nearly even in the polls with Obama—I can hardly believe it. But, he is running nasty attack ads—twisting the truth, marketing fear, getting everyone riled up using the same tactics and even the same people that Bush used. Haven’t the American people learned anything?

In case you’ve been asleep at the wheel these past eight years, let me recap some of the highlights of the Bush administration.

Record debt. Trillions of dollars in debt! Bush started out with a hefty surplus left over from the Democrats and has charged up the biggest debt in history (to communist China). This by the party of fiscal responsibility?

A failed war. One that was a big lie to begin with, has cost thousands of lives, made us hated around the world, destroyed our credibility, overextended our military and still didn’t catch the bad guys.

Loss of freedom. The party that supposedly is against big government has created the most controlling and intrustive government ever.

Corruption. Lies, bribes, scandals, torture, special interest deals to big oil and cover-ups.

Terrible economy. Home foreclosures, lost of jobs and a middle class that is going bankrupt while the rich get tax breaks.

Then there are the failings of environmental policy, education reform and health care.

America can do so much better than this. We can invest in green energy, in ourselves, and turn this country around. We can solve the problems facing us, both at home and abroad, if we stop doing what doesn’t work. We must lead with our hopes, doing what’s right, working together.

Vote Obama/Biden 2008.


August 2008

Ode to summer

Ah, summertime—and even if the livin’ isn’t always easy—it sure is grand.

Today the Saturday Market was happening downtown, and vendors brought their colorful wares, their kids, their dogs and their drums. It was such a nice social setting of small-town camaraderie. The kids ran through the woods with sticks and hid in the bushes or wandered into Curt’s with money all their own.

Crestone is a great place to raise children. We seem to have lots of young families here now. I sure hope they find ways to make it here. They bring such life to our community.

Peggy Sue & I wander around town stretching our legs. People wave, stop to chat. Yesterday’s good rain seems to have greened everything up overnight. Such a relief to have some moisture in the air! Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing and the scent of yellow clover is sweet in the air.

Stopping to just sit on the grass in The Eagle’s beautiful back yard brought a sense of deep joy. The perfection of being in the moment in a beautiful place.

These are the grand days of summer that we wish would stretch longer. More days to hike or garden or just enjoy being outside.

Our garden is finally doing well after a very cool spring. We are picking strawberries, zucchini and greens—and the snow peas are high.

Despite controversies, politics and the occasional threat of complete environmental collapse, life is good in Crestone.

About the time you read this issue of The Eagle the Music Festival will be starting. For awhile, just forget all the heavy news—and come out and dance.


July 2008

Making the connection

And, um . . . say, “what about the war?”

The news the past couple of months has all been about: The Democratic run-off—Obama or Clinton? The economy—not good. Gas prices—up, up and away. Oil speculators—greedy vultures. The mortgage crisis—thousands of families loosing their homes. And, thanks to Al Gore and big chunks of Iowa being underwater and the Midwest being frequently flattened by tornadoes—climate change and fossil fuels.

But, what about the war? You know, the one where billions of dollars are being spent and thousands of lives are being squandered? The one that is making people hate us, causing oil prices to rise and sucking us dry. The one that is STILL GOING ON?

It’s not making the news —other than Democrats saying McCain wants us to be there 100 years. Boo hiss. The TV networks don’t show the daily carnage anymore. It’s gotten too boring. Out of sight, out of mind. The movement to withdraw is in limbo—waiting for the next president to, hopefully, end it sometime next year.

It’s not a part of our daily lives. Or is it? When you stand at the gas pump watching the numbers spin ever faster, do you see the connection? When services are cut and people loose jobs, when money’s tight and the water rises, when you toss and turn at night, do you see the connection?

We are paying for this war. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s what’s fueling solar, wind, hydro, people power. Maybe because we’ve run out of other choices, we’re making good ones. Well, I’m all for audacious hope and change—and ending the war.

Happy Independence Day,

June 2008

Ode to you

Magical! The Crestone mystique was in full swing last month. The Shumei celebration, the Sacred Earth Conference, political activism, and one of the wildest springs (weather-wise) I’ve seen really brought out the wonder of this place.

When the temps were still plunging into the 20’s while I was preparing my garden beds, and the dusty winds from the Center farms made you not want to go outside, I wondered what the heck I was doing here on the side of this cold rock.

This. This is why: I heard Paul Winter play at the Shumei celebration. I sat up high under the canopy, overlooking the valley with a great view of the dunes. Paul told stories of playing music with the elk, buffalo and geese and having them sing back to him. Of recording the wind and water so his music was a symphony with nature. And as he played and spoke the breezes swirled around, dancing, making their elemental selves very much known. There were moments of impeccable beauty.

The Sacred Earth Conference showed some of the intelligence and spiritual depth of the people who live and come here. The strong protest response to oil & gas drilling shows that we walk our talk in our love of the earth. We are a diversely individualistic awesome bunch. In this isolated mountain community there is a generally agreed upon commitment to a higher purpose. Sounds crazy? Yeah. Dreams often do.

There IS something special here. A certain je ne sais quoi. We may not be perfect—or maybe we are somehow in the divine ways of things. Or maybe I simply just get real happy when the apple trees bloom and my peas come up.

Love you,

May 2008

Enough already!

When is enough enough? How does mindlessness become mindful? What will it take to stop corporate greed and social gluttony?

The BLM has recently put huge tracks of land in the SLV—and some right next door to Crestone—up for oil & gas lease bid. They probably did so without any deep thought whatsoever. The oil & gas industry probably urged them to do so. “What the heck” the BLM bureaucrats probably thought, “there’s nothing out there in the San Luis Valley anyway.”

Nothing except people, ranchers, farmers, schools, churches, communities. Nothing except bobcat, eagle, owl, fox, elk, fish, an essential migratory bird route, crops, forests, plants, herbs and endangered and threatened species of all kinds.

Nothing except a very unique high altitude valley that is extremely sensitive to climate change, development and industrial impacts. Mountains whose high lakes are already becoming contaminated with mercury and acid rain. Nothing except the headwaters of the mighty life-giving Rio Grande River.

How casually these things are dismissed. Like the wetlands of New Orleans. Like the rainforests of Brazil or the cloud forests of Central America and the ancient polar ice caps.

The San Luis Valley has become a leader in the development of alternative energy. There is a large solar farm near Mosca with more facilities being planned. There is talk of wind generation and more organic farming. Detrimental technologies are on their way out. We do NOT need to feed our beautiful valley to an all-consuming gas-guzzling monster for maybe one more day of fossil fuel for the world.

No, the world needs places like the San Luis Valley to remain intact. It is not about the money anymore.

I give thanks to all who are working to preserve this place.


April 2008

Say what?

“Today we have rifeye if a door ganz ola boss” and funny wustard fork hops.” Hmmmm. Pause for blank look. Sounds like, maybe, given the context, “ribeye with a goronzola sauce.” I repeat this back, she nods, I order. All right, we have communication.

I am hard of hearing. Quite. Many years ago I was given certain antibiotics for a septic infection that came very close to killing me. My life was saved, but a little bit each year, I’ve been losing my hearing.

Among us baby boomers, and those older than us, being hard of hearing is not uncommon. Heavy machinery, rock & roll and a very loud world has taken its toll.

The fancy dual hearing aids I wear help. Mostly. Sorta. All you hearing aid wearers know exactly what I mean when I say that background noise and little beeping sounds can drive you crazy. Or just make you avoid social situations and not engage in conversation with people who never learned to enunciate properly.

It’s a struggle. People say “hello” to your back, you don’t hear, they think you deliberately ignored them (well, sometimes maybe).

But I’m very grateful for my hearing aids, because with them I actually can hear—so many wonderful things.

If you find yourself saying “huh?” way too often, do yourself and your loved ones a favor and get your hearing tested by a good audiologist. (I’m especially talking to all you old muscians who insist on playing the music REAL LOUD because you’re already half deaf).

“An forget chew any thin gelse?

No thanks, just the check please.

Happy, finally, Spring

March 2008

Going Loca(L)

“Please listen carefully, as our options have changed.”

—Boy, they sure have.

I’m trying to find someone. The person who undid my “autopay” at the propane company then sent me an overdue notice, the person who can tell me why my airline tickets went from “confirmed” to meerly “booked.” The real person who can come and actually figure out why my DSL internet is not working—not tech support, I want them to actually fix it!

“To speak to an operator, please stay on the line, or press 1 for more options.”

There are no other options. One by one small local businesses have been bought out by bigger companies who have been swallowed whole by corporations.

“For English, press one.”

There is only one “operator” serving other customers at the moment in the entire United States—and she’s actually in India. She’s very polite and friendly, but I can’t understand a word she’s saying. She puts me on hold—then loses me—and forgets about me. Our global friendship was short-lived.

“Please enter the last 4 digits of your social security number.”

I used to be on a first name basis with Peggy at the phone company, Diane at AllStar Gas—real people answering the front desk phone. They actually cared about their customers and the community they lived in.

Thankfully, we have a great local credit union with people we trust. Jerry knows our correct P.O. box number (even Peggy works there part time), and you can still call the county courthouse and get a person who will call you back.

Supporting local business is important. Going bigger is not always better. Cost cutting doesn’t mean customer service. A number doesn’t replace a name.

“To repeat this menu, press nine . . . and have a nice day.”


February 2008

Got economy?

Whew! January was a rough month to make it through. Talk about cold! And we did: it was the main subject at gathering places, along with the economy, the severe winter crud, and the outrageous cost of propane.

This winter has been hard for local residents who earn their living here. Construction jobs are way down. There is a glut of houses on the market and only a few new custom ones are being built. Many carpenters and laborers are either out of work, or barely working. The effects of this radiate out and affect the whole local economy. We’re kinda like the town where the mill shut down.

Two years ago the housing market was booming and lots of construction was going on. Money was flowing. Good times economically, but residents were very concerned that with the new National Park we were going to be overrun with people wanting to move here.

Now there is a nationwide recession going on, and we’re feeling it here. We have lots of houses for sale. Crestone is a great place to live. I trust that wonderful people will buy these homes and become a part of this community.

This recession is a wake up call. We can’t keep doing business as usual. Our community must become more sustainable, for food growing, energy production and for jobs (but not in the oil & gas industry!). We can’t depend on growth, nor should we. We need outdoor, health & spiritual tourism. We need to create small green factories, local products, efficiency upgrades to our homes, and an “internal stimulus package” to generate income for our families. I think we’re motivated now.

Live long & prosper,

January 2008

For women leaders

I watched with sorrow the news report that Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated in Pakistan. The people there had such hopes when their former Prime Minister returned. She was no saint, but she was a very courageous woman challenging Mushariff. She might have made a real difference, brought stability to a country on the edge of chaos, but the militaristic and violent culture saw her as a threat to its hold on power.

We all are aware of how women are treated in many Muslim societies. They have little power, are dominated by the male culture, and generally considered unfit to govern. To have a woman head an Islamic county? Horrible! Unacceptable! We Americans watch and think ourselves superior. We don’t believe that—but then, maybe we do.

We have yet to have a women president, or even vice-president. Women are severely under represented in our Congress. Other nations have elected women presidents—but not us. Why?

Women would bring change. Change is scary.

The world is crying out for change. Women speak for peace, for the home, family, children—and for life! Women create stable societies, they network, they nurture—and they are quite capable of leadership. We have a desperate need for women’s voices, women’s viewpoints, women’s hands of restraint and for a balance of perspective.

I believe that when half of the nations of the world are governed by a woman we will see a different world. Either by the actions of those women, or by the shift of consciousness it will take to get them elected in the first place.

Shift happens. Wishing us all a visionary new year,