Tag Archives: Steamboat

A question of Balance

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Thanks to Keary Eaton for the Photo

                      This last semester I worked myself into quite the tizzy over genetically engineered foods. Biotechnology has enormous potential and it is up to us to decide what direction it takes. Equal are the possibilities that biotechnology will be the savior of the human race, providing the means for a high quality of life for untold numbers of people, or it will alter the biosphere in ways that make it unlikely for recognizable life, especially excessive amounts of human life, to continue.

Food, which is one of the great pleasures in my life, became a uniquely stressful experience. More than one time I got so stressed out in the grocery store I literally shed a few tears. Eating at restaurants is all but out of the question. I went from spending about 30 dollars at the store every 3 days to spending 50. On election day, when Proposition 37 requiring the labeling of genetically modified food so concerned consumers like me could better protect ourselves failed, I literally sat down and cried, and not only for a little while either, all night. Since then there has been one similar emotional breakdown over the dangers GMOs pose to both me and my loved ones, but also my mother earth.

But then I remembered something from my first semester at CMC. Words first spoken by Edward Abby, shared with me by John Saunders, head of the Outdoor department:

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

You will learn a lot of things here that you were more comfortable not knowing. And they are going to drive you crazy, and make you question the way you live your life, which is an enormously uncomfortable process. Embracing the new mind set offered through the knowledge shared here results in spiritual, emotional, and intellectual growth which I never imagined. Fighting the good fight for our earth is stressful but oh so necessary, however remember to save half of yourself for pleasure, because you will outlive your enemies, and you will enjoy your life all the more. What could be sweeter than that?

…It’s what’s for dinner.

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Here in steamboat, we are a bit on the green side. We get excited about the earth, her processes, her creatures. I see people riding bikes in the 20 degree weather. We wash out our plastic baggies and use them again. ‘If it’s yellow let is mellow’ is a common thing here. I know of many a good dishwasher that sits dormant in the interest of saving water. I have never seen people who shower so fast. We try a little bit every day to break out of the current insufficient paradigm in favor of a more sustainable, healthier earth. Everywhere I turn there is concerned talk of hydrofracking, clear cutting, the river, you name it. Most prominent in my mind lately are genetically modified organisms: 

“Contemporary scientific understanding of the cosmos would indicate that biotechnology is itself an extension of the same inadequate world view, and that it is taking us in a direction that is counter to the natural progression of the universe, the earth, and life…. I would suggest that our refusal to live within the limitations of the unity of the whole, which has enabled the elegant miracles of life to unfold, is a dark extension of our mythology. Biotechnology is a commitment to myth. By refusing to acknowledge the superstition implied in our blind adherence to our world of bliss, we move deeper into a chaos from which life itself may be unable to recover.” – Miriam Therese Macgillis “Journey to the Origin: Biological Integrity and Agriculture”  

After the last 3 months amerced in research about GM foods, i called Sodexo, the company that supplies CMC with their food, to ask about the official policy on Genetically engineered ingredients. No one was in the corporate kitchen so i left a message. I also sent an e-mail. So we will see. 

The Battle of the Seasons

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The first attack was brief. No more than a whisper of the coming tirade.

First he sent the wind to rattle the foundation of her golden kingdom

Next he sent the clouds, a mighty warrior each in his own right, unstoppable together.

She fought gallantly for dominion over our valley, made sure we would not forget her too quickly.

But her soft breeze was no match for his ripping winds.

The clouds had an easy time of blotting out the sun, the warmth.

And soon she had naught left but the leaves on the trees, memory of her former glory.

She gave one last desperate push, trying with all her might to hold him off, and for a day it seemed she might triumph.

Not but a calm preceding the storm.

He rallied the rest of his force, a cloud so great it blotted out the entire sky!

And thus,

Winter is reigning in Steamboat.

Or should I say snowing?

ImageHappy Winter Everyone!

 

Bluegrass on The Yampa

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Music: Full Moonshine, Old Town Pickers                                                                                                                                               This song should be played once you have read the post, it could be a bit distracting to do both at the same time. Enjoy!

One of my favorite things about Steamboat is all of the musical people who live here. There is live music everywhere you turn, whether it be hippies in the parking lot of the gas station beating their drums, or bands playing at bars and even on the mountain. More than once I have walked into a house party only to find the people throwing it sitting behind various instruments ready to jam. This kind of musical atmosphere is ideal for people, like me, who positively thrive off the energy and the movement that comes along with live music. If it was a viable lifestyle I would leave on festival tour tomorrow. It is great for me then, that live music is abundant in Steamboat.

Last Saturday I had the unique pleasure of seeing one of Steamboat’s local string bands, Old Town Pickers, play at a bar in Hayden. Hula-hoops in hand, my friend Tabatha and I set out to enjoy our evening. And it was even better than I expected it to be. I hooped until I was too tiered, and too dizzy to move. Later, I got to spend some time talking with the band, whom are all amazingly cool people and fantastically talented at their various instruments, which included; a dobro, a banjo, stand up bass, and of course, an acoustic guitar.

Everyone at there was as nice as the sunshine in spring, and really interested in how Tabatha and I learned to hoop. We talked with them for a few hours, everyone huddled around an enormous bucket of peanuts that none of us could stop eating. They were more addicting than potato chips. And toward the end of the night, Tabatha brought me a very nice older man to dance with.

Little did I know that dancing in this bar meant swing dancing. I was twirled around like a toy top, my partner demonstrating amazing coordination and skill, so graceful. I however felt more like a drunken ballerina, tripping over my own feet and his, than anything graceful. Despite my difficulties, that is one of the best dances I have ever had. My partner, Scott, was pro. As he twirled me back and forth and to and fro an enormous smile spread across my face. I relaxed more and more the longer we danced, and I was finally able to let him lead. After that it just got better. I must have been twirling and smiling and tripping over feet for five songs before I was too exhausted to do it anymore. And through the hooping and the peanuts and the swing dancing, the Pickers played away in their corner, one of the best displays of bluegrass musicianship I have ever seen in a town this small, and better than a lot of acts i’ve seen in Denver. Without them, my night would not have been possible, and I look forward to many like it in the future.

I don’t know how I got so lucky to live in such a beautiful place with such beautiful music and wonderful people.

Old Town Pickers are playing again this Wednesday, December 7, at Carl’s Tavern on 7th  street and Yampa. This is an all ages event so there is no reason not to come out! I’ll be there and I hope to see you, bring your friends and your dancing shoes. 


Waiting for the snow to fall?

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Music: Round the wheel- The String Cheese Incident

Living in a secluded mountain valley there are many strange phenomena to be observed. However today I am going to focus one particularly prominent state of affairs that affects us all equally. I am writing, of course, of the extreme effects the weather has on the inhabitants of our mountain paradise.

Summer time; the sun is shining, the birds are singing; everything is as perfect as anyone has the right to ask for.  You wake up in the morning, and decide if you want to hike today, or kayak, or perhaps mountain bike, or maybe just a lazy tubing trip down the Yampa. You could go skate, or set up a slack-line or long-board or load up the car and drive 20 minutes to one of the best campsites you’ve ever seen. As the sun sets, the music starts. Everyone has got something to do that they enjoy doing. Boredom is an abstract thought that only echoes in the back of restless minds as their exhausted bodies drift into peaceful sleep, a feeling for another season. Everyone being gainfully employed this time of year, if there is not fun to be had; there is work to be done. Since everyone happens to be busy as bees doing the things they love, and because everyone has money, and because the sun shines longer than in any other season, and because kids are out of school and laughing and playing, everyone, and it seems to me, everything, is happy. Not simply happy but content, things are just okay in the summer time. But then the leaves begin to change.

For a while everything is fine, no one notices the daylight slipping away, or the temperature dropping.

“Look mom the leaves are so pretty.” We revel in the short lived glory of the fall colors.

But then, you can’t tube anymore because the river is too low, and it gets dark at 5 o’clock, and the leaves have all fallen leaving bare trees that cast eerie shadows in the premature night.  As the air gains a definite and undeniable chill, and the leaves are nothing more than compost, and the river is too low, the tourists flee for the comfort of their city dwellings taking half our jobs with them. There is no music to be had after dark. But then something even worse happens; it begins to rain. The clouds fill the sky, cutting us off from mother sun, the bringer of joy. School is in session pulling us all further down from our summer high. Everyone is broke, everyone is bored, and the sun has gone missing. With each passing day everyone becomes more and more grumpy, until, sadly, we are all at each other’s throats. This is the unfortunate truth of mountain living. We fight with our friends out of sheer boredom, we watch too much television, and we fall into a slump.

And then a miracle. It snows.

It has been my experience that snow is the single largest bringer of joy in communities such as this, even greater than the sun. As the snow moves in, people once again have things to occupy themselves, and boredom, a.k.a the root of evil, is once again stowed away at the back of our minds. With the snow the tourists once again begin to flow like water, and with them come everyone’s job. The music returns to the night, business reopen. The sun shines when the snow isn’t flying. Everyone is happy again. Things are just okay in the winter time.

And so I would like to remind you all, it is merely weeks before the resort opens. We do not have to tear each other to shreds; we do not have to despair. The sun will come again, along with it the snow and the contentment. Winter time is coming, maybe slower than we would like, but let’s be honest, the winter time is the reason we all are here. These seasonal fluctuations in mood and attitude are to be expected. After all, we are all just spinning on the wheel of life.

On that note, hello, and welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy it.