Monday, March 13, 2006

"Climb every mountain!"

photo by Dada

Every spring the poppies bloom in the foothills less than a mile from our home. So, before I even look at the news from overnight, before I allow that to get me all upset and in a rant, I thought I'd share a picture of the beauty that unfolds here this time of year. It lasts about a month and then is gone until the following spring.

I don't know why it is, exactly, but it seems many towns and cities of the desert Southwest abut mountains. Maybe that's to protect their backsides from 19th century marauders and raiding parties. I'm not sure. (Sadly, however, they're no safeguard against 21st Century plunderers and it is now the mountains that now need our protection.) But if one looks at El Paso, Albuquerque, Tucson, Phoenix and gorgeous Las Cruces and Taos, NM, there they are--the mountains--cradling their communities.

In the case of our mountains with these beautiful poppy fields, we are only able to enjoy them because they were once part of an army firing range back in the 40's. Beneath those poppies exists artillery shells which have not yet been cleared away. But that's about to change and it sickens me. (Oh, oh....my beautiful mood fades?)

With rampant human population growth everywhere, developers are drooling at the land protected all these years by possible UXO (unexploded ordnance). Already they've climbed the other side of the mountains. The result? Massive concrete mansions clinging to the craggy ridges in an obscene gesture to all below who could never, ever afford the luxury to snub the rest of society and look down there noses at us.

Never mind that if one walks up in these foothills and glances eastward, there are millions of acres of open (flat) undeveloped desert land available for development. You see, progress must "climb every mountain"!

Public hearings begin next month to determine what the public wants to do with this land. Whether they want to preserve its beauty for all citizens of El Paso to enjoy, or bulldoze it and place a military research and development center there for a few profiteers to enjoy.

In another Universe, the outcome would already be decided. Majority opinion would be the rule. But that is not the case. This is the land of opportunity. Progress must be served.

As with the nuclear repository near Carlsbad, NM being debated in the 80's, public hearings taught us they are most often just a charade to let we, the little people, feel empowered. To feel we have a say in what happens to the land, to our mountains, while their real fate has already been determined by the powered interests.

But in a recent Freedom of Information request from the local Mountain Wilderness Coalition it was discovered the army and the local Chamber of Commerce have already been making plans far beyond anyone's wildest of dreams for this beautiful wilderness! And while there was a huge volume of almost 1,000 pages, the Army turned over just ten pages of plans for the use of this land. And on those ten pages, the substantive information had all been blackened out. The concealed meat of their schemes is "Exempt from disclosure" to us.

Such is the farce of our "freedom of information". What we're really interested in seeing regarding the plans for our "public lands" is not for our eyes. Ergo, the fate of these mountains is already decided. And that's a real SHAM(e)!

9 comments:

enigma4ever said...

Great post and I feel like I fell into a little piece of heaven...I hope you saw over at Watergate You are on the Blog Round Up, I hope you don't mind? hm, I should have asked, well, I am asking now ? is that okay? Stormy here- Big thunder and lightening all night..now more of the same- Big winds,rain and snow ( snain), and even hail ( hmm, snail?)

Hope you are having a good day...sure quiet without that DK and her pithy insights....

gotta run..will stop back later...new post up a WS, please stop by I will put the coffee on..

dada said...

e4e: your blog roll? I made your blog roll? Do I mind?! Oh heavens no! What an honor to be sitting among such revolutionaries! Thank you very much!

Listen, maybe you're getting some of the stuff that's been passing over us the past week or more? Wind, wind, wind. Today's gorgeous and we're warming into the 70's the next few days, so hang on there....you may be in for a windfall of nice weather. (Whoops, bad choice of word there?)

I don't mind breezy, up to about 25 mph, but beyond that I begin fearing death-by-crushing from the huge pine trees right behind our bedroom when they'll come crashing to the ground.

And yes, I dropped by the blog to read your latest. Hopefully, I'll get time later today to come back and have a cup of coffee.

It IS rather quiet with DK in Death Valley, huh?

enigma4ever said...

Windfall...too funny..And you not only made the Blogroll- actually you have been at the Enigma Cafe Counter for quite a while...No you are part of my Round Up ( I try to do twice a month)...yup kinda quiet without DK...maybe Maine Friend will come by...

some_maineiac said...

of course I will come by...you are on my daily reading list...and i'll try to do my part at filling the empty space left by DK, with lots of words, at least...

brother, I feel your pain regarding development and the farce that public hearings are, most of the time...it's what sent me screaming from the McMansions that were springing up all around my little bungalow in massachusetts...OK, the neighbors from hell didn't help, either...

I pity the young family who bought that house and I heard that they got an offer from the big cahuna developer who needed the land to get the best access to the choice 12-acre lot he kept for himself (in a subdivision of 1-acre lots, the guy with the most land is the king)...I hope the guy was able to see the writing on the wall, swallow his pride and take the offer so he could find a better place to live...the developers certainly weren't going to make an offer to enrich me, after I fought them tooth and nail on every phase of that subdivision...to no avail...

out west, you've got a much bigger problem than subdivisions, though...huge tracts of cheap land available for the military or a nice, big landfill and damn the flowers...not too many places to put that stuff in the populated east, too much land would have to be taken and people compensated...

first time i was out to the phoenix area to visit mom&dad&sis, 10 years ago, it was kinda nice, peaceful and quiet with the superstition mountains looming to the east...now you can hear the traffic roaring by on route 60, the main artery to the next new town, all full of golf courses, new villas and shoppng centers...with a thirst for water that's becoming increasingly scarce...the supes are still there, though and my sis took me on a great day-hike through the high desert a couple of years ago...i really enjoyed the opportunity to put my feet on land that's been untouched by the hand of modern man (for the most part) for centuries...it was about this time of year, when the cactus and other plants that I can't name were in bloom and quite a thing for a new englander to see up close...

enigma4ever said...

Maine Friend- that was so nice to hear you describe out west...hmm, you too need to go to TAOS....( Georgia OKeefe....orgasmic onders...sorry guys- but that is what her paintings are...)...the COLORS are so SW though....and about Raping/Pillaging land - you said it better than I - for me it involved a real full jar....

Dada- BTW I love the photo...I came back three times today to see it...and I also went to Kathleens on the Blogroll- cause it has the Mojave with snow- wondrous picture...going to bed...just doing my midnite roundup..take care fellas...( hi to the Lady and Pony)

dada said...

Thanks e4e for sending me to Kathleen's. That was a great picture. I guess she's another desert rat. And she has a great blog. There's so many of 'em, huh, blogmeister?

Maineiac, I got a letter from and old college chum yesterday. He was talking of his son in the Portland, OR area. Of the whole letter, it was the part that jumped out at me the fartherest. His son said, "It's amazing how much money people have to blow!" Then I thought of your comment about the McMansions people.

And I know we're living in a bublle in this country. As for the economic bubble, I think there's a lot of people growing wealth from the housing bubble. At the same time other's lives are being rent from their former comfort zones thru exportation of their jobs, loss of benefits once promised now reneged, and health fewer and fewer can afford.

And I wonder for those riding to greater wealth on the expanding bubble, becoming more and more fragile the larger it gets, if there isn't a fear just beneath the surface like, "if I can only make it a little higher up the wealth ladder, I'll be above it all when the "shit happens"?

Well, native of the west coast, my first impression of the desert was: different, nice to look at, thank god I don't live there.

E4e: Reading Kathleen's "profile" I could really relate. She ended in the desert also...and likes it!

Oh, but back to the bubble. So while the economic bubble grows tenuously thinner, we here in the desert are in another bubble. The environmental one. Phoenix and Vegas immediately come to mind, but we're not far behind.

I think I could have been an anthropologist because lives and times of our predecessors always interested me. So when I learned of the Anasazi, or 'ancient ones' who lived in these parts nearly a thousands year ago and who suddenly 'vanished', I loved pondering where they went and why. Water is often among the factors mentioned.

So it may be, if we have the misfortune to live long enough, we may discover where the hell the Anasazi folks went, I tell my wife. And if the environmental bubble bursts before the economic bubble, it may well be we "ancient ones" may end up in some place like the Maine woods. Or huddled over a steaming grate in the bitter cold of an Ohio winter. And maybe we'll look up an recognize the ancient face of a long ago Native American from the desert southwest!

And maybe I'll look at them and say, "Hey, I know a place where we can get a good cup of coffee and some great conversation. It's in this little cafe." Or, or, "I think I know somewhere we can find shelter from this bitter cold in these northern Maine woods." And hopefully, the Enigma cafe will not be boarded up, or the Maineiac's frozen over.

We can all sit around and reminisce of those ol' days of 'irrational exuberance.'

some_maineiac said...

hey, dada, interesting that you shoud mention the "anasazai"...my sister has taken to trekking to many of the little-known sites of amerind ruins in AZ and describes some deep spiritual experiences she gets from being in those ancient places...don't know that she will be taking me to any of those places when i visit in april, but we do plan to spend some time camping on the havasupai reservation near the GC...

and, yeah, when that housing bubble bursts, you're gonna see some pretty scared people who are going to demonstrate the awful ugliness of "every man for himself" when the bank calls in that $750,000 mortgage...

OTOH, should the earth decide to take a dump on human beings for a change, the cold north will only briefly be a refuge from global warming...i think there's some scientific evidence that indicates that catastrophic climate change happens very quickly, in the space of 50 years or less..and the catastrophe in this case is another Ice Age, I think...

enigma4ever said...

Goodnite Fellas- I been eavesdroppping on the sociological wonders...and yeah there will always be an Enigma cafe...

dada said...

Hey Maineiac: I wish I'd responded to your nice comment last eve. (That would be before I read further in my book, "The Party's Over" today about peak oil and the fun times that will begin as we go into decline. But I was tired last night and didn't get to it.

See, we'd been out shopping for a car that would add significantly to our current MPG situation, but after the reading I've done today, it may be too late.

As a result, I'm in a helluva lot angrier mood and a new car that gets a "REAL" 28 mpg may be too little, too late. My wife and I are now joking we could use it as a fuckin' flower box or mini-green house because it won't be going anywhere.

And on the way home yesterday we noticed the price of a gal. of gas had gone up again. Now I wonder if this is just because it's Spring Break and big oil needs to capitalize on consumers or "Is this the beginning of peak oil's steep decline into growing unrest and eventual anarchy.

But that aside, you know WHY I love northern NM and the pueblo people? Because they are, most likely, the Ancient Ones, the Anasazi.

Ooops, damn....I just got a call from a car salesman about the particular model car we were interested in. It just came in. I wish it hadn't because I have a few more things you mentioned herein I'd like to address.

But I think your visit to AZ next month is probably and excellent time of year to be visiting there. All my family is in Oregon and I'm wondering how much longer we'll be able to go there if the peak oil decline is upon us.

It may all be irrelevant. So excuse me, friend, for cutting this short while I go look at what might be our last car and first flower box on wheels. We'll talk more soon.