Sunday, May 30, 2004
Walk with Beauty
Walk with beauty
I spent a recent weekend at Canyon De Chelley National Monument. There is a video in the visitor center that talks about the Navajo Indian tribe's traditions and ways. The Navajo's life is based around harmony or balance if you will. I believe that when we achieve that balance we find happiness.

Politics -
Lets get them out of the way first.
We are at war in Iraq. The conflict in Iraq is called Operation Iraqi Freedom. We are over there to fight a war that I do not understand the reasons for. I have a hard time justifying it in my mind when nearly 800 American troops are dead and all we have is Saddam Hussein in a jail cell in an undisclosed location. Some people would argue that he was a tyrant, well IMHO the imprisonment of a tyrant was not worth the bloodshed that we and our coalition partners have endured. I heard somewhere on the radio or television that the Geneva Convention does not apply because we have not officially declared war. I find this argument very weak because our president has not only included Iraq in his war on terror, (some would say unjustly, I have no opinion on this matter) but he went on Meet the Press with Tim Russert and said that he was a "War President." I feel that our leadership has forgotten the golden rule which states, "Do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you." We need to come back to our allies and friends with our hats in our hands and apologize, we would demand nothing less of them. We have "liberated" Iraq now we need to get out. Let the people make there own way. If the French had stuck around after the Revolutionary War and insisted on helping us to write our constitution, and told us how we were going to run our country, I believe that a second revolutionary war would have been fought this time against the French. The point that I am making is we helped the people of Iraq to free themselves now we must let the cards fall how they will and let leadership come from where they choose it to come from. We can not force Paul Bremmer's brand of leadership down the throats of people in Iraq.

National Park Rules and how They Apply to Every Day Life.
As I mentioned before I just returned from a weekend at Canyon De Chelley National Monument so these rules are fresh in my head. These rules apply if you are running a country, a company, a household, or just about anything else.
Rule # 1 - Pack out what you pack in.
Interpretation - Fix the problems that you create. It may be easier to dig a hole and bury it but when the flood comes the problems return to the surface.
Rule # 2 - Carry plenty of water.
Interpretation - Plan ahead. It is not fun to be thirsty, whether on a trail or for another part of life.
Rule # 3 - All rocks and plantlife are protected.
Interpretation - Take care of what is around you, you may not be given any more. Whether it is people or resources, the principle applies.
Rule # 4 - No motorized vehicles beyond this point.
Interpretation - Yes we probably could make it up that hill in our SUV. Before we go we must ponder the question, Why is that sign there in the first place? Why is there not a road to begin with? The reason usually has do to with the protection of something, maybe even ourselves. We may make it fine or we may top off over the hill and find only a sheer cliff face. If one was walking or exploring the area gently they have a far greater chance at survival. Some will argue that we must pioneer, or move forward and that vehicles are the 21st century horses. To that I quote cowboy artist Charles Marion Russell from John Hutchen's "One Man's Montana." " I have been called a pioneer. In my book a pioneer is a man who comes to virgin country, traps off all the furs, kills off all the wild meat, cuts down all the trees, grazes down all the grass, plows the roots up, and string ten million miles of wire. A pioneer destroys things and calls it civilization." We need to strive to fill voids and needs in our society, but not forget to replant the seeds for future growth by entrepreneurship, using resources sparingly.
Rule # 5 - Do not remove artifacts / Do not climb on ruins.
Interpretation - Do not take what is not yours, or abuse other people's property.

Patriotism -
We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
As I was throwing out some garbage last night at my camp site I noticed an American Flag in the trash barrel. I went about my business but the thought of that flag in such an honorless position bothered me. So later on I went over and picked it out of the trash. It was a little old but not worn out. I put this flag on my car for the night and pondered why someone would throw it away. I guess part of the reason that this bothered me so much was all the veterans that have died in previous wars and are dying in the middle east for the love of a country which this flag symbolizes. I recently went with my dad to help him with the affairs from his dad's passing. His dad in the end had very few possessions left but kept his uniforms from his days in the Marine Corps. That is love, to hang onto something through countless moves and countless possessions that were no longer needed being cast aside, That uniform stayed with him. I feel that if duty to his country had called, up to the last day, that he felt that he was ready and kept his uniform just in case.

American Workaholic Lifestyle
While spending a lot of recent time at various National Parks and Monuments, I have affirmed that we as American people have very little time to enjoy what is in our backyards. We are forced into the belief that the only way to get ahead is to work a sixty or seventy hour work week. I have been a slave to these beliefs as well until recently. Recently I realized that as hard as I worked the emptiness did not go away. I had plenty of money but not much time to do anything else. So I had a little disagreement with the company that used to hold my employee number (5815) over my head, and have set myself free. I am doing consulting now and my new employee # is one. Back to the point I was making earlier, the majority of people you see in these American treasures known as national parks are not American. They are from The U.K., Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Mexico, Canada, Paraguay, and this is just a list of people that I met there were hundreds more that I did not meet. We have become an obese society partially because we hardly have time to cook, and when we do nobody has time to eat. It is far easier to pick up a bacon cheeseburger and fries then it is to get a family or a group of friends together. We as a society need to work on this for our physical and spiritual health. There is no answer that works carte blanche across the board, a good start might be going and picking up salad and eating it at the park, then when dinner is finished take a walk. You will soon see energy levels pick up. Edward Abbey once wrote about life and the river, (it is)"best to launch (the boat) with or without life jackets, keep your matches dry, and pray for the best." I can honestly say that the views from most wilderness areas are far superior to the view from my apartment.

I am not an environmentalist per say, I have worked my whole career in industrial and pipeline construction. Industries that are far from where you would find a standard environmentalist. I understand that we need power for electricity, oil for automobiles, natural gas for heat, copper for tubing, and gold for necklaces. How many of us could give up our Sport Utility Vehicles to drive a subcompact or trade our lights for kerosene? Chances are, not too many. So we have too work to make the environment better. The technology is there but because we have very few rules mandating how these processes are regulated and implemented, most owners will not spend the money installing and maintaining the technology until it is forced upon them by legislation and strict enforcement. We need to pass these laws. I believe that we should preserve the few natural places we have left most of them being government owned entities. We should not drill oil on the A.N.W.R. for what the returns would be the price that we would pay in the loss of the unspoiled habitat would be unforgivable in the eyes of future generations. I feel that we should keep Grand Staircase Escalante a National Monument and there for protected, regardless of the oil reserves under there. How would we ever be able to look our nieces and nephews in the eye if we had sold out their natural resources before they were born?

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