Sunday, September 30, 2007

My connection

The Grand Teton, Jackson Hole Wyoming, just north of Burnt Lake.

Man has always been a social animal.  Early man first lived a hunters/gathers.  Early in mans history, we lived in family groups known as clan or tribes.  As the population in Europe grew, people began to live in towns and cities.  The occupations of the inhabitants became more specialized.  In what is now the US, the inhabitants remained as hunter/gathers and continued to live in tribes.  When the Europeans started to spread to the new world, they brought with them disease and technology (and their attitudes about owning the land).  They tried to live in harmony with the natives.  When the Europeans found themselves in need of more land, it was inenvitable that the two groups would collide.  When two societies collide, the one with the most technical weapons is usually the victor, sometimes totally eliminating the losing society. It should also be noted that more American natives died of the diseases spread by the Europeans than anything else.  How could this affect our mother earth?

I have over the years developed an attitude.  An attitude about the way we are treating our mother, the very planet that gives us all we need to sustain life.  I have compared my thoughts and ideas with that of many native Americans and you know what?  I agree with them.  We belong to the earth, it does not belong to us.  I attribute my beliefs to my personal history and the education I continue to obtain.

I am a rare breed, I was born and raised in Wyoming.  I didn't realize how rare I was until I had a good friend attend the FBI academy.  He pointed out to me that in the big picture, hardly anybody lives in Wyoming, something he learned in the academy.  I was lucky enough to be exposed to much of the American west before industry and people began to pollute the area.

As a very young man, I would go camping and fishing in the mountains of central Wyoming with my father.  We would go into areas that were only accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicles.  These were areas that showed no sign that man had ever been there before us. (although we knew was expected that we left no trace that we had been there ourselves)  I have been fishing on a lake that had water so clear, youcould see the bottom, 30' below us. We could go out for a week and take only the required pans, a little cooking oil, and some corn meal or flour and have enough native fish to sustain us.

I have stood on the prairie, once populated by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, the buffalo and the eagle, with the wind in my face, the smell of the sage brush filling the air, listening to the leaves of the Cottonwood  and the Meadowlark sing.  One cold winter night in the 1960's, I found myself standing on the frozen prairie.  The temperature was below zero, there was 6" to 8" of snow on the ground and the air was perfectly still.  I looked into the sky and saw a million stars.  I felt so small, but yet a part of the universe.  There was nothing around me that I could buy, but yet I felt as if I owned it all, or it owned me.

Just a few years earlier, as I lay in my sleeping bag in our backyard in Cheyenne, I was nine years old.  I watched the stars above.  One of them moved.  just weeks before, the USSR had launched Sputnik.  It was the only moving object in the heavens.  Now there are so many, they pass over, one every 3-5 minutes.  I often wonder what the few remaining tribes think of the moving stars.

Man and our over population are "killing Mother Earth".  Our skies are so polluted that many people can only see a few stars on a clear night.  Roads have been built and the  once clean lakes are cloudy and surrounded by litter.  I have a friend who works at NCAR/UCAR.  She sends me information, almost daily, on the research on global warming.  I have seen the numbers.  We are heating up the earth.  We need to wake up and take care of the problem.

I often reflect on a drive I took just after my father died.  I was driving south on I-25 from the Wyoming/Colorado border.  As I looked at the front range of the Rockies, I thought "Those beautiful mountains were here a long time before me, my father and his father.  They are owned only by God"

I have but one solace...When I start feeling that my world is becoming over populated, I take a drive back to Wyoming.  There are still more Pronghorn Antelope than people.  I just wish the State of Wyoming had not improved the road back to Burnt Lake, where I use to camp and fish with my father.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Busy weekend in Sunshine

The garage sale

Merchandise for the garage sale

We had a very busy weekend in Sunshine.  On Saturday there were two events going on.  Saturday was the community wide garage sale.  So many people helped.  Mary organized and was in charge of the event.  Beth and MaryAnn worked for three + days on the event.  Their expertise was very valuable.  The room was well organized and MaryAnn should get an award for add-on sales.  If an item was marked a dollar, she would charge 75 cents and send you back to find an item that sold for 25 cents.  She moved a bunch of stuff!  We set up the garage sale in Station #1.  Although the rebuild after the fire is not yet complete, we were able to use the structure. 

stuff, stuff and more stuff

Merchandise was brought in Thursdaynight and all day Friday.  The sale began just before 9AM Saturday morning.  I started the day by purchasing a shot glass for my collection.  Things wound down by 4PM.  We raised about 1/5th the amount we need for the electrical hook-up.


The Arts and Craft Fair

Inside the school house

The Annual Sunshine Arts and Craft Fair was also very successful.  This is an annual event used to raise money for the upkeep of the school house and cemetery.  the event runs for two days, usually the 3rd weekend in September.  There were people in attendance the whole time the doors were open.  June was there, selling her book, Stories of Sunshine, a great book about the history of our little community.  We had other vendors selling jewelry, stationary, Christmas ornaments, soap, artwork, gold ore samples (from a local mine) and, of course, cakes and cookies.  We shut down around 4PM on Sunday.  Each year the sales increase.  This was our 14th year.


June selling her book about Sunshine, Colorado



I guess I should explain what happened and why we are trying to raise money for the electrical hook-up.  Although separate, the fire department and the school house / cemetery association have always worked closely together.  The School was build in 1900.  It originally had a wood burning stove but no electricity.  Sometime in the recent past, some neighbors ran an electrical connection from the firehouse (station #1) to the school house.  Lights and an outlet were installed.  Although not up to code (the cable was attached to live trees) it worked well.  That is until the heater in station #1 caught on fire and burnt the building to the ground.  the power company, when responding to the fire, disconnecting the hook-up to both the fire station and the school house.  We would like to re-connect the electrical hook up and have it be to code.

Without the electrical hook-up, we have heat but no lights in the school house.  With this configuration, the school house can only be used during day light hours.  In the past, the Halloween party, new Years celebration and other event have been held there, many at night.  We are now relying on private homes instead of our community center.  For the craft fair, we ran a rather long extension cord from the contractors hook-up to the school house.  It worked but I don't know how safe it was.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Community Fest 2007

Food, Food, Food!!!

The Community Fest fund raiser for the fire department was very successful.  The weather was beautiful.

Silent auction items

We began serving Food, Beer and soft drinks around 2PM.  There was a silent auction with lots of great items on display.  The live auction was rather interesting.  It usually includes cakes and pies baked by local neighbors.  There are usually a couple of "odd" items.  This year the "odd" items were a truck load of firewood, and a 1969 Ford Mustang convertibleHildegard still holds the record for the cake that brought in the highest bid, $1000 two years ago.  This year, although it didn't bring in quite as much, she still baked the winner. 

Next on the Sunshine agenda is the garage sale at firehouse #1 next Saturday and the annual Sunshine Arts & Craft fair at the schoolhouse.

I have been struggling with my desire to write any more.  I've shared most of my stories and quite frankly, don't have much more I want to say.  I have only one story about my connection to the old west but I have hesitated writing it.  It's about Tom Horn, Geronimo and my association with the man that stood next to Tom when he was hung, T Joe Cahill (the last hanging in Cheyenne in 1903).  I hesitate because I am very sensitive to the manner in which the American natives were murdered and forced to surrender to the army.  To this day, I believe man belongs to the land, the land does not belong to man.  I don't want to offend any of those who still read my entries by telling the story. 

I want to thank you for hanging in there with me.  I'm sure I will add a few more entries as the mood strikes for now Milo and I will continue to walk everyday (as long as I am able), wave to Bob the bus driver and raise the flag.  (I hope some will continue to raise the flag after I'm gone)  I will try to add items that pertain to Sunshine and the things going on in the community.  I still want to keep our neighbors that have left up to date on "things going on in sunshine".

Please give your family all the love you can and watch out for the bears.