2013

2 October 2013: It’s been a wild, 10-year ride

It has been a wild,ten-year ride

Ten years and counting.  Hard to believe.  I started writing for the Courant when Lynn Granger was Georgetown Police Judge, Bob Poirot county commissioner, Bill Owens governor, and George W. Bush president.   Barack Obama had yet to make a splash on the national scene.

I’m working with my third editor and have seen four “counter” columnists from the right come and go.  The key to being a successful writer is not to become a one-trick-pony.  Anti-govmint crusading can carry a writer only so far.  Even Ayn Rand became redundant in her novels: same story, different plotlines.  So it goes.

In March 2003, Clear Creek had dug itself out from underneath six to twelve feet of snow, depending on where one stood.  That storm precipitated my writing.  Then-editor Meghan Murphy had placed a blurb in the paper seeking locals who could and would be willing to write a regular column.

“Hmm,” I thought.  “I taught writing for years.  So why not?”

At the moment, I was nonplussed about the lack of outrage about Georgetown being bilked for an estimated $72,000, a debt that Georgetown taxpayers may still be paying, that FEMA refused to cover for Straight Creek Construction clearing its roads.  So I wrote about it:

“One would think that if this town could get in such a tizzy over Kolleen, surely there would be an outcry of the good citizens’ outrage.  Letters to the editor.  Talk of storming Town Hall.  Calls for recall.  Something.

“But nothing.  Not one letter.  Around town, just the sound of silence.  Several shrugged shoulders. A few shakes-of-the-head from a few accosted citizens.”

“The silence is deafening,” the September 17, 2003 headline read.  Indeed, it was.

It’s interesting for me to witness, though, another cataclysmic natural event on the tenth anniversary of my writing.  I’m talking about the deluge, of course, and the flooding it wrought.  This time, though, stories of heroism and dedication abound and scoundrels seem to be nonexistent.

Let me offer praise and thanks to all who worked to protect people and property, from first responders and road crews to apparently house sitters.  Good show, Charlene Chieppo!  You are a living example of integrity, courage, and dedication.

The cataclysmic size of the deluge and flooding might or might not be directly correlated to the inexorable rising global temperatures.  Scientists will make that assessment once all the data is in, which anti-warming ideologues will ignore regardless.  So it goes.

Nevertheless, it is apropos to note that in the end we’re all vulnerable when it comes to the whims and power and, yes, majesty of nature.  She will have her way, and our human needs, angsts, desires, passions, and especially our lives are less than incidental to her.  They’re important only to us.

It’s interesting to note how the descriptor “biblical” is attached to these major destructive events.  The connotation implies that the core of the Bible’s message is God’s wrath.  Funny, I’d like to think biblical might infer something more positive, more spiritually uplifting, you know, something like “love thy neighbor as you love yourself.”  Another way to look at it, one supposes, is judgment and hellfire vs. openness and inclusion. Something to chew on.

Now that this level of destruction, on the heels of the past few seasons of inferno-level wildfires that have impacted and even destroyed whole communities, has literally hit home, not down-trodden parts of New Orleans or the Jersey shore, we ought to step back and take its measure in terms of meaning for us.

One lesson, a great moral one in my estimation, I have learned and continue to learn living in Clear Creek is the value of community: It’s not a collection of historical buildings but a coming-together of people and even their animals.  As Mark and Matthew agree Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  That’s true whether it’s the United States of America seen as a confederacy of red, blue, and purple states, the state of Colorado dealing with rebellious counties proposing to secede, the county of Clear Creek, or the town of Georgetown.

My thanks to my editors Ian Neligh and Doug Bell for their support and to my readers, fans and critics alike, for without your direct, sometimes eloquent, but always insightful comments, my skin would be as soft and downy as a baby’s.  I wouldn’t want it to have been any other way.  Besides, my hard-earned crocodile hide is quite becoming of me, eh?

Ten years and counting.  What a ride.

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