50th ANNIVERSARY … Last month I was off to a wedding in Washington State. This last week I attended a 50th Wedding Anniversary in Montrose’s Cobble Creek Clubhouse for Dixie and Carol Rinehart of Colona. They are the parents of Tanya Ishikawa, the only other elected Green official in Colorado. Tanya is a councilperson of Federal Heights – a suburb of Denver … I’d met Dixie and Carol before – both very charming folks who have a knack for welcoming you into their lives. But I didn’t know them all that well. So I was honored to be included in their golden anniversary celebration … And, actually, Tanya’s sister (Tina Purcell) and husband have a son in the Telluride Mountain School. So, I wasn’t entirely a stranger to the family … Still, it was wild meeting folks from all the various niches of Dixie and Carol’s amazing life. Dixie had a bit of fame as the designer for the interior space suit poop mechanism for Apollo crew members (during his NASA years). His Lincoln Continental club included a buddy and mechanic who had the same first name as me, and a wonderful last name of Apple. We hit it off, and shared lots of stories … A family from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana came and their young son did a “prairie chicken” dance in full regalia that had us all mesmerized … I had a lovely talk with the legendary Steven Baker, who’d collaborated with Dixie on various archaeological projects in the Uncompahgre Valley … I’d seen Tanya’s young son Canyon before, but I’d not met Yasuo, her husband. He was just quitting his job with the Japanese consulate in Denver, and focusing on his music. He plays a wild jazz saxophone and is coming out with a CD (I can’t wait!) … Not many wallflowers in the Rinehart clan – toast after toast was made (and not a few roasts, outlining various outrageous stories, most involving Dixie and his shenanigans) … But the heart of the event came in the champagne cutting of the three-tier cake. Dixie related story after story of how Carol had always been there, right by his side. She was the real hero of the duo, he suggested. And she was as gracious as Dixie was boisterous. Crediting all her friends and family for being there when the two of them needed support. One can only wish that all marriages were as rewarding and inclusive, as generous and widely-embracing as the Rineharts …Next, I get to officiate at a wedding of Victoria and Jeffrey up in the Mountain Village this week. It’s been a time of nuptials of all sorts this spring.
CLOUD ACRE SPUDS … It’s finally appropriate to put my seed spuds into the ground, having finally warmed up. There’s only one catch this year. It’s a drought. The Foster Pond on my place has dried up. That’s only happened three or four times in 30 years, and this time it happened in May. A bad sign … Luckily, I have a new ’86 Dodge Power Ram (new to me, anyway). My old Amanitamobile was getting beyond merely unsafe to drive, it was downright hazardous. And I had to have a truck to haul water. So, luckily, I found this vintage pickup in a friend’s yard in Moab, on the sale block. Even though I wasn’t exactly ready for a fifth vehicle in the Goodtimes fleet, it’s my vehicle of the future … You can’t have a farm without a hauling vehicle in rural Colorado. And that’s my future, post-politics – spud farming … So, now I’m hauling town water from the water dock in Norwood. Digging out the pond’s peat one shovel-full at a time. And praying for rain … Hand watering is good for soul. And the body. But it’s hard on everything as well … Still, it feels good to be out in the garden every day, pulling weeds, mowing grasses, planting potatoes.
HARD FROST … Not everyone experienced it June 1st in Norwood, but we did at Cloud Acre. I’d risked planting a couple of my hardy Survival Reds in mid-May (always tricky, especially when the weather’s balmy). One mound had strong green leaves pushing through the straw mulch. I should have added more mulch when I saw the indoor thermometer that registers outside temperatures had dipped to the freezing point. But it was late. I was sleepy … Waking early, I checked and the outside temp was 28 degrees (F). That’s four degrees below freezing. I grabbed a bathrobe and slippers, and made for the pond’s pumphouse, where I disassembled the pump and its pipes (a freeze had busted the last one) … Everything was fine, and there wasn’t frost on the ground, so maybe it hadn’t froze too hard. But I heard other regions had lost fruit … Of course, the next day when I woke up early, the outside temp was in the 70s. That’s mountain life.
RAINBOW GATHERING … The first week in July will see thousands of Rainbows from all over the U.S. converging on public lands in Montana for the annual Gathering of Living Light, with its July Fourth Peace Circle … I’ve usually gone when the event takes place in the West (normally every other year), but I’m having a hard time leaving Cloud Acre this summer … Still, if you’re heading north for the first week of July, give me a jingle. It’s the one event that renews my faith in the human race – as crazy as this world continues to get.
THE TALKING GOURD
The Art of the Mess
Look to nature, Dolores would always say
& when I do, it’s chaos, cataclysm
moebius & mandelbrot
So, I just play with my acre of it
Re-arranging occasionally, but mostly
piling it up in delightfully random congeries
It’s ugly. It’s beautiful. It annoys
the hell out of some
& drives others to invoke divinities
whether we select the best
of haute culture
or casually accumulate
the oddly antique
& the uniquely functional
from yard sales & flea markets
though we try to keep it all in mind
& at play day to day
we in fact usually just stow it away
ready to use, if oft forgotten
So why bother?
I guess it’s the guarantee
of eventual serendipity
& the brilliance of an unexpected find
And for my challenged others
made to stumble through my leaf litter
& duff on dinged knees, there’s my morels
decomposing one’s line of sight
& turning toadstools into cuisine
if cooked just right
After all, a wee bit of junk
tossed out & then taken in, can make
my Mona Lisa out of your monotony