The View From The Hogan #12
Plants begin to grow (April 2000)
Notes from Big Mountain
by "Bo Peep"
I have an alarm clock. Its called the Peabody Mine Plane. Most days it
flies by a little before sunrise, so if I am still in bed when I hear it I
know I'm running late. Its not a little 2-seater, but large enough to have
cargo doors in the rear. A couple of years ago it took to "buzzing" the Altar
way below the legal altitude. Twice it was so low it caused the flock to
scatter to the four directions. Maybe the pilot had recently watched Top Gun,
or maybe the bosses told him how much fun it is to frighten old ladies. So,
why does Peabody need a plane? Well, it takes a full 3 hours to drive from
the office in Flagstaff out to the mine on Black Mesa, and, as we all know,
time is money, so those poor old executives have to fly themselves and the
mail out there. The thing that strikes me each time it flies by is just how
much it must cost to operate. Keeping an airport at the mine going, a
facility at Flagstaff airport, the wages for the pilots and mechanics etc and
the fuel costs. A damn sight more than is made by ALL the people on the land
that the plane flies over I suspect
One of the Grandmas here refers to them as " four-legged vacuum cleaners." I remember way back when THE RAINFOREST replaced the whale as the Poster
Child of the mainstream environmental movement. Seems like huge acreage of
virgin forest was being cut down daily to provide grazing land for cows to
feed the american burger franchises. Admittedly there were some huge bucks
behind the campaign, but millions of americans "voted with their pocket
books" and applied pressure to the burger chains and caused some minor
changes in the corporations habits. (Having a tendency to cynicism on
occasion, I suspect the changes were primarily cosmetic). Seems like people
thought the diversity of the forest habitat was more important than the
sacred cow. A couple of years ago I was listening to a radio interview with a
Native American woman who had an organization that helped indigenous peoples
with economic start-ups. She went on to explain that they had now moved into
the international arena with a project in Botswana. Apparently the Bushmen of
the Kalahari were being moved off their land to make way for...... cows. Once
again, american support was mobilized to stop this travesty. (though I
believe the Bushmen are still being moved off.) So what's this got to do with Big Mountain? Well, there used to be over
ten thousand virtually self-sufficient people living here. Mostly living in a
good way without needing to plug into the cash economy too much. They've been
moved off. And what has replaced them? Cows. A damn sight fewer than ten
thousand of them. These cows are owned by a very small group of individuals.
These individuals and their friends ARE the Hopi Tribal Council. The parallel
to Public Lands ranching in the western U.S. is obvious. A small group of
individuals get to engage in uneconomic profit making because the US
taxpayers, and in the case here the Hopi people AND the US taxpayers, are
footing the bill. And the land and the people suffer.
The grass has started to grow again. First one species, then a week later
another, then another. The bright green against the red/pink/salmon/ochre/white/grey ground paints a pretty picture indeed. The
wild carrots now are topped with delicate purple and white rosettes. I even
saw the first scarlet bud of "Indian Paintbrush" poking up. Somehow, the
hummingbirds down in Mexico know this and are starting their journey back
here. The peach trees are blossoming, and two other species of flowers are
about. Just below the surface of the ground, the melted snow and rain sits
and waits for the corn to be planted in a moon or so. The sheep are happy to
be getting fresh green... as will I be in a couple of weeks when the first
produce from the garden comes in.
Then there are a pair of twin sisters. If it were not disrespectful to
name the animals, I might call them Dumb and Dumber. They are real pretty,
with black, white and brown coats, and they sure like to eat. So much so that
they don't bother watching the rest of the flock wander off,... after 10
minutes or so they will look up, and not seeing anyone, will wander around
making noises like a car horn with a dying battery. I constantly have to keep
back-tracking to find them.
VFH12pix1..... Seemingly unaware that they are undocumented trespassers,
the flock ponders the eternal paradox... no matter how much they keep eating,
the grass keeps growing.
VFH12pix2 .... After crossing through the Fence, the Prayer Walk approaches the final ascent onto Black Mesa. Or, if you're a fan of the HTC "aggressive and racist outside agitators invade Hopi land." (foto credit: BoPeep)
VFH12pix3 ...The Prayer Walk is moments away from reaching the top of
(foto credit: BoPeep)
VFH12pix4 ... Long-time resister and matriarch Roberta Blackgoat.
(foto credit unknown)
Walking past a newstand a while back, I noticed a headline "Los Angeles running out of
electricity." (Or maybe it was Phoenix) Oh dear. what will they
do about that? Seems like they have 2 choices. Build more coal-fired power
plants (now where could they be thinking of finding the coal do you
think????), or build some new nuclear power plants ( it is , after all, a
"clean" energy source!!!!). A third option of using renewable energy sources
like wind or solar has dropped out of favor in McU.S.A. There is a fourth option. The inhabitants of LaLaLand (or Phoenix) could
DECREASE their energy consumption. But that's an absurd idea, as that would
imply that as "mere" individuals we were capable of effecting change. Much
simpler to feel powerless victims of the Mega Corps. Then go out and buy more
But then, what the hell do I know, I'm just a sheepherder
Thank you for giving me your time by reading this
Your prayers, support, & correspondence are invited
"I look for what needs to be done. After all, thatís how the universe invents itself"
For all my relations
(reachable via email@example.com)
P.S. To all those who have written to me, please be aware that my highest priorities are the flock, the garden, and the Grandmas, email is not, therefore it may take as long as a half moon between when you write, and when you hear back from me. Around here the information superhighway is sometimes no faster than the Pony Express. Please be patient, you will hear from me.
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