Originally written for a Creative Writing class at Utah Valley Community College (now Utah State University) taught by Larry Harper. Photos by Johnny Adolphson.
Once upon a time, there was a river, a river and a canyon. Everyone who saw this river in this canyon really liked it. Some lived for it, some died for it, many fought for it, no one hated it. Or admitted they did. All in all though, everyone agreed about its spectacularity. “Every one of these almost innumerable gorges is a world of beauty in itself…. Yet all these canyons unite to form one Grand Canyon, the most sublime spectacle on earth.” This is what John Wesley Powell said about the Colorado River and the canyons it gave life to.
The canyons Friar Francisco Garces described as “…the most profound canyons which ever onward continue.” Powell and Garces knew the Colorado a long time ago; they explored area, an area that is now very different and yet changing even now.
Up until a few years back, people took care of the river, and it took care of them. A relationship that worked well until someone decided that the river could be better used running air conditioners and so they built a dam. No one noticed much then; it was back when few knew much about the wonders this area held. Anyway, there was more than enough of this hostile, rugged area to go around. Dams were built everywhere, lots of them. It was an easy fix for the energy junkies.
“Man has flung down a great barrier in the path of the turbulent Colorado,” proclaimed the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation during the 1960’s. “It has tamed the wild river-made it a servant to man’s will.” The bureau was boasting of Glen Canyon Dam, a 710-foot high monument to technological prowess, but it could have been talking about any dam in the country (Davis 26). Now, the cliffs, the canyons, the plants and birds and rocks and things, and the river is gone.
The Colorado is no longer there as it was. Such dams back up the Colorado that still flows relatively freely and make the canyon a sluiceway between dry hills” (MacDougall 54).
So why do they do it? Why do they try? Electricity and water mostly. People generally need them. A lot of them. Too much? Any alternatives? Sure.
The flood gates should be opened, the river unleashed and the damage repaired. Let Nature reign again. Yee hah and Hieghty ho.
THE RIVER IN QUESTION
Today the Colorado has been rightly compared to hundreds of miles of plumbing system (Sunset 104).
Sometime around 2004, i went to a pal’s wedding in Connecticut – knowing i would see some old pals from Utah, unseen for many years, i assembled a run of (whopping) 4 copies of (an obviously handcrafted/bound) chapbook.
This little tome called “Shoebox” contained stories written while living in Utah alongside some of these lads in hopes of sparking memories and giving a little something of myself in thanks for their inspiration and friendship.
Cover photo is a thistle growing inexplicably from the red rocks of the Grand Canyon’s north rim on a wander i did with the groom of the aforementioned wedding.
As it goes, i never heard anything about the booklet, and forgot about the project until again Utah (autumn 2018) and buddy Dane’s copy surfaced during a move. I dutifully snapped a few lousy pictures for documentary evidence of creation.
The stories were written mostly in the “sudden fiction” style i’d experimented with after encouragement from James Thomas and Francois Camoin.
Vaclav Havel – Playwright, President, Activist, Leader By Dave Olson, Fall 2002
NOTE: Written for a course at The Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA) as an assignment to report about an admired leader. More resources to follow for archival interest.
Vaclav Havel’s career spans disparate jobs from brewery worker to playwright to President. His life is highlighted by his unusual rise to power, writing of existentialist plays and political potent essays and his remarkable journey from a dissident in prison to the leading a fledgling country from the presidential castle in a matter of weeks. Most importantly, his vision of bringing former-Soviet eastern European republics into the European community in a non-violent, efficient and sustainable manner is his greatest legacy.
Havel didn’t plan on a career in politics and came to his leadership positions in strange turns of events, perhaps he inadvertently refers to himself in his discourse, “Summer Meditations,” “…if your heart is in the right place and you have good taste, not only will you pass muster in politics, you are destined for it. If you are modest and do not lust after power, not only are you suited to politics, you absolutely belong there.”
Mostly so i can answer Drs when they ask if significant exposure to heavy metals. Not more than others except for Geneva steel labourers. Never worked in an aluminum smelter assuming aluminum is smelted and changing pronunciation in my head, proudly on the fly.
These note cards are residual evidence of a “lunch ‘n learn” and/or other spiel presented in some context or another.
As it goes, i can’t cover all of my Social Marketing Kung Fu(n) topics o’ wisdom in one session, so i make a “game show” where attendees choose their own adventure by choosing from these little prompts.
Shared here for future reference.
PS You can hear loads of my spiels about topics including: marketing, start-ups, PR, renegade social community building etc. via the Community Feasthouse podchannel if inclined.