Now I’m ready. I wasn’t last month—and didn’t want to encourage it. Didn’t want a repeat of last year. I had way too much to do to get ready. Chinking on the cabin, stacking firewood, turning the compost, snugging up the greenhouse, buttoning up the bees, installing two new solar panels on the roof and picking up everything outside that needed to get picked up or put away (still don’t have that one done, but I didn’t finish that one last year either).
So now I’m ready. For snow. For winter. For subzero temps. My bulbs (garlic and iris) are all tucked into their beds. My shovels are hung by the door with care.
Janet gave me a new pair of Acorn sheepskin slippers as an early present. I have a big stack of books I’ve been meaning to read. I have boxes of photos that need to go into albums (that will never happen—but it’s a last ditch plan in case of near-terminal cabin fever).
I do love winter. I’m not big on bitter cold—but I love the snow. We have cross-country skis and like it when we can just ski out the front door. Peggy Sue’s husky heritage comes out and she gets excited lunging through the snow.
The town has already gone into winter mode. It’s so very quiet. Wood smoke in the early morning. The snow on the peaks keeps inching down. People gather together for holiday events, sharing meals, touching in with each other after the hectic solar summer.
When you are fortunate to live someplace without bright lights you notice just how early it gets dark. You get to see stars so brilliant they reflect off the snow. You get to experience the season of going within. It is nature’s time of deep meditation. Time to live off the sugar and sunshine we’ve stored in our roots.
May you all have warm loving holidays. May you laugh with joy as you slide down the snowy hills —hopefully on sled or skis!
Love at Solstice,
A hometown reason to vote yes on 3A
Just as this paper was being wrapped up, I got some good news. The Crestone Charter School has selected the Town of Crestone 10 acre parcel proposal as their first choice for a school location. Due to a generous arrangement by Robert Philleo with the Town, a parcel of land he has owned for many years that lies between Crestone and the Baca will be annexed by the Town. If all goes well, one portion will be sold to the school, another will go to the Town, with Philleo retaining the rest.
It has been a long time since the town of Crestone had a school in it. Not since the old school house was last used.
There is something so right about having a hometown school. I’m excited by the possibility of students being able to walk or ride their bikes from town or the Baca. Of high school students being able to go to Curt’s during their lunch break. Of the sense of life and possibility these students will bring into town. Of the civic connection between students, teachers, parents and townspeople. It is important for young people to belong to a community. To be held close. The school being between Town and the Baca offers a unique private yet accessible location.
As to the parcel the Town of Crestone will acquire from Philleo, it will hold the potential for community, municipal and recreational facilities. For things the Town hasn’t had room for—and that land was never set aside for or designated in the Baca. Facilities that could complement the school and enhance the community. Things yet to be planned, just hoped for many times over the years.
Something very good for the greater region can happen here. Vote yes for the future.
Yes to CCS–Yes on 3A
This month, the big story that’s up is whether or not to fund the 12% matching grant that will allow the charter school to build a permanent facility.
We must first congratulate the school for being awarded the BEST grant. A huge amount of work and research went into the planning and grant proposal documents. Anyone who reviews this will be both impressed and proud of the school’s effort.
It is no small thing to be working and teaching in an aging modular and yet hold a dream for a facility that is not just a new school, but incorporates creative ways of learning with green building. That integrates education with actual living. And to then turn that dream into a working plan with a solid multi-million dollar grant offer to back it up.
The charter school had a real struggle to get itself started. Going up against those who felt our school district was too small to support two schools—always on the verge of not being allowed. Yet, they prevailed, with dedicated teachers, mentors donating time, parents giving of themselves, and continuing community support. The charter school has proven itself. It has won awards and been recognized for its excellence. Its relationship with the Moffat School has in many ways benefited both, by offering choice to the district’s students, instead of a “one size fits all” education. Moffat School during this time, under great leadership, has become more excellent itself. We are fortunate to have two good schools to choose from.
As a home and business owner, I am quite willing to pay a small amount more in taxes to help fund this bond. I see a long-term economic, educational and social benefit to the whole Moffat Consolidated School District.
In the long run, we’ll all benefit in so many ways. Invest in our future. Vote yes on 3A.
An inner richness
I was at the Crestone free box the other day when two young mothers with their children showed up. They were searching the bins for back-to-school clothes. That really struck me, that they were looking for clothes that weren’t worn or stained that could be presentable for school. And, the kids were very happy to find a new-to-them hoody jacket—no “I want a cool brand name” pouty fit there. No, they were happy with their free box find.
“Live simply so that others may simply live” is not just a slogan, it’s a lifestyle. Sometimes by choice, sometimes not. For many people living on the edge, simplicity and self-reliance are essential.
The economy is not doing well all over our country, and rural areas are especially hard hit as there are always fewer jobs. Why move here, you might ask, when there are so few economic opportunies?
Money is important, yes, but what is so often of primary importance, is the soul of things.
When I first moved here many years ago with small children, I was searching for “conscious community”—hungry for it. To live in a big city would have left my inner landscape bleak. It was no place for my children. Our values demanded both beauty and spirituality out our back door.
We are raising a new generation here. It ain’t always easy, but it is of the utmost importance. Things are shifting. We’re figuring out back-to-the-land and into-the-future ways of doing things. Quality education is important, so are affordable and creative owner-built housing and jobs that will last.
We may at times have a poverty of money, but we’ve never had a poverty of spirit. Let’s keep investing in our community—we are in it for the long run.
Sweet time words
How to sum up this wonderful time of year? Maybe the word “peaches”—sweet and yellow with stored Colorado water and sunshine. Or “delphinium” deep blue like the sky it’s reaching for and visited by humming birds. “Zucchini” for the green and exuberant abundance.
Words like “fishing” and “camping” come to mind as we set our tents up near the meadow under aspens. Followed by “hiking” and “treeline” as we push higher where snow had recently been—now tumbling into streams and rivers.
Of course we have to add in “festivals” as they pop up everywhere like mushrooms after an August “thunderstorm.” And “dancing” on green grass.
Children on liberty from school enjoying being kids on “vacation.”
We must also add “busy” right after “barbecue” but before “boating.” And “family” and “friends” as they all come to visit and “kick-back.”
Our short-lived summer season creates a riot of activity—rvs run up and down the “under-construction” highways. Traffic gets backed up on mountain passes by trucks hauling kayaks, 4-wheelers, rafts and campers—with bicyclists everywhere!
All this “solar energy” has everything feverishly growing and blooming. The “garden” is running amok with peas. The bees set an incredible pace. I can only eat so many cherries! I’ve lost control of the “summer squash!”
Whew! Thank goodness the days are long and evenings cool. Time for sitting on the porch and drinking “lemonade.”
Ah yes, this is a “sweet time” indeed. Hand me another peach.
See you at the festival.
From the top of the Rockies,
The ‘gay exemption’
Last month I went over to the courthouse to get my license plates renewed. As I stood there check book in hand I was told I didn’t need to pay, I had “the gay exemption.” Cool. After I left I headed up to Salida. When the state trooper pulled me over going 80 mph in a posted 65 mph zone I calmly showed him the rainbow sticker on my bumper, told him I had the “gay exemption” and he let me go saying “please watch out for everyone who has to obey the law … and have a nice day.”
This all started when my accountant was helping me file my taxes. She told me that since I couldn’t file jointly with my life partner, couldn’t get her social security or host of other benefits, couldn’t form a civil union or get married in the state of Colorado, couldn’t serve openly in the military without reprisal, and didn’t have the full rights of citizenship like everyone else, I didn’t have to have the full responsibility of citizenship. So, I checked the box marked “gay exemption” and got all my money back.
Yeah, pipe dream.
But the dream of full equality is one that has been fought for in our country since its beginning. While supposedly founded on the principles of liberty and justice, it hasn’t readily applied these “for all” without a struggle. It took black people 75 years since July 4, 1776 to be free—and another century until the Civil Rights Amendment was passed. It took women almost 150 years to gain the full rights of citizenship.
Yet, a wonderful thing about this country is our constitution and our belief that all people should be treated equally. The practice of that can be hard as we face our fears, our prejudices. But if we really believe in liberty and equality under the law, then we will be brave enough to assure that ALL citizens have it.
Until then, can I have that exemption?
With blessings on the 4th,
We give thanks for Life. To the Earth, Sky and the Four Directions, to God/Goddess, to the Divine, we give thanks for Life.
This morning I held my newborn grandson Samuel in my arms as older brother Mica snuggled up and mother Erin and father Talmath beamed their joy. Samuel, so small, so precious, so new his angel wings are still attached. What a wonder it is to hold a newborn. And more of a wonder that he is my grandchild. His whole life is ahead of him—starting now.
I find myself this morning as a grandmother to five, with both my parents gone, moving up in the family hierarchy, pondering the grand cycle that puts me here, grey-headed, holding Samuel, and seeing my own son a man, a father of two sons.
Life is such an amazing journey. It is too big to grasp, to comprehend the ALL of it. I guess we just have to live it—and marvel at it along the way.
Last month we ran three obituaries of dear friends in our community and felt such sadness at their passing. This month we run two birth announcements. And feel such joy in their coming.
This spring life decked herself out to the nines in Crestone. All the trees and shrubs bloomed. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years here. The Eagle yard has numerous nesting birds, robins are hatching in the cottonwood right outside my window and fluffy fledgling jays are being shown my feeders.
To all my Relations,
We give thanks for Life.
Friends are those
who are consistent
of the heart
They are the ones
you just really like
fit into your life
And you into theirs
We could fish side by side
Her and I
Comfortable with line & reel
& a thermos of coffee
Conversations that went
deeper than most
Friendship based on
Bonded in an
What a gift to have had
her high regard
and to return it
How I wish
we had more time
For sharing meals, stories
a game of catch as she
practices her softball pitch
Now we know
each unremarked moment
You are off to the next
Go with Grace
—Kizzen, April 24, 2009
Short term memory
Do you remember the “cost of war clock” that ran, spinning, on websites during the years George W. Bush was in the White House? The millions spent per day? Money going to blow things up in Iraq, then build them back up, then blow them up again? Do you remember the billions that were squandered, or flat out just disappeared?
Do you remember the conversations about what we could do with all that money? How we could build schools, pay teachers, fix roads, create jobs, invest in the future and do so many greatly needed things? Or how those in power, or rabid radio talk show hosts, accused anyone who objected to this huge spending splurge of being unpatriotic and not supporting our troops? Do you remember the Bush term ending with the biggest deficit in history with nothing to show for it except a failing economy, a corrupt Wall Street, and a generation of young people less educated than their counterparts around the world? The many lives lost?
I remember all too well.
So now the Obama administration is running up the debt even further doing things that should have been done already. It’s like having to replace the roof because you didn’t fix the leak. I’m not a big fan of debt. But if we don’t start fixing our country now, it will just get worse. Sometimes you put money out as an investment, knowing it will create a return in the long run. Like buying a house, paying for college, or starting a business.
Wisely investing in our own country is patriotic. Those who undermine a recovery effort need to go explain their better plan to our “troops” in the unemployment line and foreclosure office.
Jostling for political power is not going to solve our problems. As the people of all ages in N. Dakota on the sand bag lines know, we sink or swim together.
Every time I hear a commentator say that the reason for our economic recession is because families took on mortgages they couldn’t afford, I get upset. First, the victim gets blamed, and second, the real problem is being overlooked.
A key problem was, and is, the lack of decent affordable housing.
If you are a young family with 2 children what are your housing options? You can rent. Rents have been high and take a big chunk of your paycheck. It’s money out the window. Ten years, 20 years, you have nothing to show for it. No equity, nothing to borrow against for your kids’ college or for a financial emergency. It isn’t your savings for old age. The cycle of poverty continues.
You can buy a mobile home. Affordable yes, but they loose value over time instead of increase it. It’s hard to find a place that allows mobile homes, and too often “parks” become over-crowded ghettos.
You can become homeless, and many do. Build your own home if you have the skill. Or you can take a chance on a better future and take on a mortgage. You hope you can make extra money, or get promoted. But the homes available are energy hogs priced much higher than wages can realistically pay. And there is no cushion for lay-offs or illness.
When I was a kid our parents bought “starter homes”. Usually 2 bedroom. Over time, as income increased, they finished the basement or attic, added on extra bedrooms, family room and 2-car garage. Now homes come ready-made with all those rooms and the price tag that comes with it—and the hype that says we must have this type of home (financing available!).
We are fortunate here in Saguache County that we can still build our own homes over time, using recycled and alternative materials —and a little help from friends.
Our country must wake up to the fact that people need decent affordable homes—maybe they will when McMansions start selling for the price of a double-wide.
Thanks to you
They just kept coming in the door. They ate up all the food, drank up all the beer and wine, talked and laughed, hugged and told stories and had a great old time. Me too.
The Crestone Eagle 20th Year Open House & Celebration held in January drew around 150+ people. Many more said that they wanted to come, but for various reasons couldn’t, and wished us well. (Kinda glad they didn’t show up—we already went to Curt’s twice!)
We put together a 15 minute repeating slide show of old photographs. We had photos of people who used to live here and moved away, and people who had died. Judging by the response of the viewers, we all still remember them and hold them dear in our hearts. We had photos of current residents when they were much younger. Lots of exclamations on those. “How young! cute! skinny! with hair!
People shared their history here with newcomers who appreciated the old stories as they learned what we all did, and continue to do, to make this such a special place.
One person at the open house pointed out the diversity of the people attending. They said they ran into people here they usually don’t see within their particular social circle. That the Eagle was the common ground—for both local residents and those part-timers living afar.
Maybe that’s because of the variety of people who contribute to the paper. Who write from their own interest, expertise and talent and enjoying sharing this with all of us. It is those people who really should be thanked for making the Eagle what it is.
Plus the advertisers who make it all possible. And the awesome staff, who puts it together month after month.
Thank you all, with love,
Teaching the band to play
This month the Eagle starts its 20th year. ( . . . we’ve been going in and out of style) The first issue was printed in December, 1989.
What a journey this has been—the paper grew as the community did. We’ve seen many changes together. Babies were born, children graduated, friends died or moved on and new friends arrived. We’ve seen boom and bust—several times. New spiritual centers grace our hillsides, bringing teachings from around the world.
Solar, wind and alternative building are not “alternatives” anymore, but more the norm. People come here to live in connectedness and to pray, each in their own way, in a place that honors that.
The vision that was created and shared for this community continues to manifest.
It hasn’t been easy. Our stuff comes up. That’s part of it. We’re a diverse bunch, and we don’t all agree or get along. Except when we have to during times of challenges—and then we are truly awesome. Or when we set aside our fears and prejudice and dogma, and just get to know one another a little better.
We are a microcosm of the larger world. Our country has been so polarized that we haven’t been able to solve our problems. Now I see Obama working hard to make “out of the many, one.”
I haven’t been totally pleased with all of his appointments, being a leftist liberal. Yet, maybe there is a brilliance there. If we can reach across the aisle, maybe we can create something better. Building bridges takes time and trust and a willingness to do so. Maybe we won’t get just what we want right away, but maybe we’ll get it together.
It starts with a vision.
Blessings and appreciation in this most wonderful New Year,
( . . . but we’re guaranteed to raise a smile.)