On Charlottesville

17 Aug

In the aftermath of the demonstrations and ultimate violence in Charlottesville, commentators and analysts are spending much time discussing the event, the history, the basis, the potential future of such gatherings and belief systems. One ‘observation’ that particularly struck me was the role of fear on the part of those white, Anglo men. This fear, observed the analyst, is based on the fact that their numbers in our society are decreasing, presently purported to be sixty-one percent. Immigration, globalization of the economy, equal rights accruing to a growingly diverse America instills fear that they will no longer be the dominant kind here. This fear is propelling them to rebel, stand up and be taken into account, reassert their dominance.

As a student of Native American history and culture, I am struck be the irony of this perception of threat from the ‘other’, be it skin color, religion, purported genetic inferiority. These were the elements of white, Anglo-Saxon beliefs that entitled them as the rightful ‘owners’ of this continent, the only ones qualified to possess it, to develop it, to inhabit it, to destroy its Native populations or convert them to images of themselves.

What goes around comes around….

Breaking with Tradition

11 Aug

Although I rarely express personal opinion on this site, I feel impelled to do so today. First, I recommend that you read the following article:

http://billmoyers.com/story/donald-trump-us-north-korea/

Then I recommend that you contact your congressional representatives and the chairs/vice-chairs of the Foreign Affairs committees asking them to pass the Lieu-Markey proposal to remove the ‘hair trigger’ option. I did this yesterday even before the current exacerbating Tweet….

Beating the Heat

11 Aug

We’re spending a relaxing week here at 7th Ranch, Garryowen, MT. I’ve shared many pictures from this location in the past so I won’t bore you again. Suffice it to say, the surrounding beauty and cooler temperatures are much appreciated. The temps in Washington and western Montana were hitting the mid-90s daily. What do you do when you live in a ‘tin can’ parked in the sun when it gets that hot you ask…

…play computer games, of course!

Headed ‘Home’

7 Aug

Due to heat and heavy traffic and crowded conditions, we’re headed home to South Dakota. Pippy did spend some time playing ball and cavorting with her friend Scout while we were at Glacier Meadow. On our way south we spent a night in Choteau, did some shopping in Great Falls, and stopped for the night at White Sulphur Springs.

[have driven this road many times but never at just the right time…hazy mountains in the background due to wildfires west of the divide]

We’re now at 7th Ranch in southeastern Montana for a week. Pippy can enjoy daily walks/runs in the pastures and I can enjoy the peaceful quiet of the area.

Saturday in July

31 Jul

After our internet, mail, and shopping trip yesterday, we returned to Glacier Meadow and enjoyed the AC as the temp had gone above 90. Unfortunately, with daylight savings time, temps don’t start to get comfy until it’s my bedtime. To give Pippy a chance to play with her old friend Scout, we did go out about 5:30. Shortly, as those two were playing, we were joined by a lady with two purebred Golden Retrievers.

She never let them off the leash and spent half an hour talking about their breeding and the other purebreds she had owned. Both Scout and Pippy tried to entice them to come play but their mom kept them reined in and explained that on their ranch, they have a whole acre to run on [hmmm – there’s at least four here]. Pippy and Scout played a bit more on their own and then both decided to lie down and relax. We came in for our supper….

As the traffic is especially heavy here on weekends, I’ll likely wait till Monday to post this….

[This morning’s sky was especially beautiful to the west as the sun crept toward the mountain tops to the east.]

 

 

Noted While Driving

31 Jul

Frequently in our travels, I see a sign saying weigh station ahead. Almost without exception, they are closed. I wonder if trucking firms have this figured out and route their trucks around open stations. Could that have something to do with the deteriorating condition of our roads?

During the travel season, it is not unusual to see signs indicating ‘road work ahead’ followed by signs conveying the reduced speed limit and cautioning that fines double in work zones. And how often do the drivers who do slow down get passed by those ignoring the speed limit or unable to bear being behind someone else. And how often do the non-speeders arrive at the flagman with a stop sign to see all those who passed them chomping at the bit because they had to stop. Devilish delight!

There are some towns that appear to regularly have a police officer at the ready to stop and ticket cars entering the town while exceeding the speed limit.  It’s not unusual to see this occur repeatedly as we make our annual journey north or south thru familiar areas. I’m guessing it’s a lucrative way to fill the town’s coffers.

Here in the west where mountains, rivers, prairies, and expansive skies are a joy to behold, I’m always amazed at how many drivers are in such a hurry to drive thru it with no time to enjoy the beauty. By their license plates many seem to be tourists. I kinda thought the definition of tourism was sightseeing.

And I’ve often wondered if many drivers believe the definition of ‘speed limit’ is the slowest you’re allowed to go….

25 Jul

After three relaxing days at Chewing Blackbones with daily swims in the lake for Pippy, we went to Browning to get the remaining tire work completed and then settled in at Glacier Meadow for a few weeks tentatively. There are usually a few big playmates for Pippy here and I hope to wind up some chores and maintenance before hitting the road again. Without special antennas there are no radio, TV, internet, or cell phone signals here. About five miles east on US 2 at Marias Pass, however, I can take care of phone and internet tasks; we head up there every three days or so.

[One of the beautiful views of GNP just north of Saint Mary]

A set of BNSF tracks runs roughly parallel to US 2 south of Glacier National Park; much of the traffic seems to be boxcars presumably loaded with goods from the west coast. And we observe an occasional train of tank cars likely carrying oil. It is rare to hear a train whistle as there are no road crossings; however, once or twice a week a whistle does  occur and I assume some animal has been spotted on the track, a bear or deer or elk perhaps. Typically a fully loaded train has four ‘pullers’ [engines] and two ‘pushers’ and the speeds up the steep grades are quite slow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occasionally we see box cars stopped on the siding and, even more rarely, they’ve been ‘decorated’ by artists in some switching yard metropolis. The art work has always fascinated me, some of it quite beautiful. Rarely am I able to decipher the words -probably just as well.