Peace, prayer, and poetry
October 4, 2016
"Turtle Island swims/in the ocean-sky swirl-void/biting its tail while the worlds go/on and off/winking."
No matter whom I'm on the roam with, in the sense that all trails lead to one's interior, I find trekking to be a solitary pursuit. I drop a thought at center ice and nudge it around with a contradictory notion, and, before long, I'm elsewhere. By muttering and musing alone, I'm able to annihilate space.
Until, that is, I arrive at a vista, a break-over where forests and lakes and ridgelines dissolve into the horizon. Peace has arrived. It is then that awe replaces thought with wonder. Like in: I wonder how the hell Utah Representatives Bishop and Chaffetz ever came to believe they occupy the moral high ground with their Public Lands Initiative.
With the PLI currently stalled within the paved walls of Congress and time running out for any legislative action until the lame duck session following November's election, it appears rather absurd to even consider that any definitive action will transpire. It's not like this bunch has shown it can accelerate above a crawl.
With the PLI, you get drill rigs and ATV trails dissolving into a horizon of corporate logos. Space gets annihilated by bulldozer. Awe and wonder become driven by the fluctuating price of a barrel of crude, not to mention the black market on purloined ancestral puebloan artifacts.
The pressures upon President Obama to create a Bears Ears National Monument through the Antiquities Act are mounting daily and something tell me it's been in the works within the Interior Department for quite some time. At this late date it would seem that most all i's have been dotted and t's crossed.
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Those opposing monument designation status for the region have already gotten in lock-step with their savior Donald Trump anyway. That's the basket within which resides the PLI. I don't see another.
It's not like Republicans in congress have made enough friends across the aisle to override a Presidential veto on the bill. Not that one will be needed. Has a political landscape ever appeared to be in more disarray? Utah's bunch will no doubt survive whatever consequences Election Day brings, but if any of their colleagues owe them cash, I'd collect soon.
You of the Utah right are "Trumpers" now. Your elected delegation has said so and if any recent polling is an indication, you are just fine with that. The same can be said for the national Republican Party. They created this monster and disassociating themselves over time will not prove easy.
It's been a long spell since "prayer" has been of the "beseeching" variety over here in my quadrant of the existential left. It comes to me, not unlike a warm breeze in a winter storm, more than I go looking for it. The "Spiritual" side of life is always evident and has never needed my Imprimatur.
That being said, the outlet valve on my "hope" reservoir seems to be stuck in the "open" position. I hope President Obama's sense of national atonement for past sins against indigenous peoples affords him the vision necessary to designate a Bears Ears National Monument. Its healing effect will be monumental.
Possibly a "vision quest" might be in order — some time spent roaming the wilderness with a bit of sweat-lodge time thrown in. Maybe a specific sand-painting would serve to trigger old tribal legends. And, if his vocal range reaches sufficiently into the higher registers, there are songs of "awakening" out there.
Oh, to be above it all rather than wallowing in this moment, as is my wont. More often than not, I've turned to poetry over this ongoing time-span of angst and anxiety. Old friends like Gary Snyder, W.B. Yeats, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, and the like. Even Charles Bukowski!
Indeed, they have provided warm breezes amid the chill. But, say, if the Bears Ears buttes down across the street from Natural Bridges National Monument were to send me a poetic vibe in the near future, I just might see the light. It's a holistic thing. I could use some healing, too.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.