National Parks

National Park visitation levels are shrinking to the point where they are now producing record “low numbers.” The Nature Conversancy estimated that they are down some 30% over this same time last year. In order to meet “1987” levels, an estimated 80 million folks would have to visit the parks this year, just to reach that previous level.

People are staying home; they are using the Internet, television, other means of entertainment to keep them occupied. $4 a gallon gasoline isn’t helping matters any either I suppose. The average American has reached the breaking point on this love affair with the automobile. Thank your friends in the Oil & Gas Industry for that.

Recently I heard this expression. “Forty is the new Twenty.” Which when you apply that to a tank of gasoline, it seems apropos to me.

Now this is good, you will like this. I am down at the truckstop, the old family truckster is out of fuel, so I am filling it up. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I cannot stand to watch those incredibly high numbers roll over with such pitiful amounts being dispensed to me. So I walk around the truck, I look up at the sky, exam the white puffy clouds, and as usual, I see a duck … that one looks like a horsie … I see a bird!

Walking around to the front of the truck, I glance over and the thing is reading “NINETY FIVE DOLLARS!” Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! I run over and shut the pump down instantly. What in the world? Then I look down at the pump, I have mistakenly pumped HIGH TEST GRADE into my definitely LOW TEST truck and of course, the fuel that is now in it, is on the extreme high end of the price scale for gasoline.

Pays to pay attention.  Remember that.

What were we talking about? Oh yeah, the National Parks.

Interestingly, what if no one visits the great outdoors? All these sit at home people, who in the future will not develop a deep affection and appreciation for all the splendor and glory of the mountains, the forests. Where will the protectors of the environment come from in the future, if there isn’t anyone who cares enough about it to get off of their collective butt and go outside to visit it now?

I would say that there is just cause for concern here, where will the environmentalist-tree-huggers of the future come from? If your window to the world is the end of your remote control, how are you going to make it out the front door?

Taking a moment to reflect on this, I feel so fortunate to have seen and experienced what it is that I have in my lifetime, concerning the National Parks, National Forests, those special and beautiful creations of God, that most people only dream of. I have seen my share of the world too. It is worth saving, all of it, but if no one knows it is there, then it would seem logical support will be lacking when the issues are brought forth.

I have to go, I have noticed something amiss this morning and I have to check on it.

THERE MUST HAVE BEEN A POWER FAILURE SOMETIME DURING THE WEEK?
ALL THE CLOCKS IN THE HOUSE ARE OFF ABOUT ONE HOUR.

Having just stepped outside to check the night sky and there is a Crescent Moon and some small star right off of it (could be Venus the morning star, I dunno?) sure is something to see. Nice and cool this morning, looks like it might not be all that bad this day here in The Heartland.

The last great vestige of good community living left in America! Which is okay too, I suppose. But as most of you already know, it doesn’t take a whole lot to amuse me. A teenager at McDonalds serving me my half-warm order and he doesn’t have any open sores on his face, Dr. Phil and Oprah in the afternoon, a smile from the U.P.S. Driver as he delivers my new software Virus Killer … Life is grand, eh?

Today, I don’t have a lot going down, but I am going to do my best to make something of a positive nature out of what God has given me this day. Take my best shot and hope for the best …

To you my friends, I leave the rest.

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Memories

California and the Bay Area. I am sitting here in the quiet tranquil morning time, drifting off, and thinking back to the “Good Ole Days” one of the luxuries of life I can still afford. Stirring up the dust, blowing the cobwebs out of my brain … Turn right and head on down Harder Road or up to Mission Blvd, maybe to the Plunge, how does that sound? Check out the hollow dark cavities of my mind …

Sitting out front of Dad’s house, on his redwood fence, smoking a Marlboro, the cool breeze coming in off the bay, carrying the smell of tomato’s from the Hunt Cannery on B Street.

Saturday’s (and sometimes in the middle of the week, don’t tell Mrs. Ormsby) on the beach in Santa Cruz, the surf pounding, a gull swoops down to steal a potato chip off the blanket. An ice cold bottle of wine at the end of the string, buried in the sand.

A teenage girls’ husky laugh in the dark in the balcony of the Hayward downtown.
Two slow dances with Marylnn Matteson-Stith at the La Vista Cafeteria on Friday night.
Squatted, Indian fashion, on a boulder in the Sierra Nevada’s just outside Lake Tahoe.
A sky full of white wispy clouds and dragon flies.  A stolen kiss at the Grove after a Lancer’s Football game.

The smell of fresh cut Alfalfa wafting into the cab of the pickup in the valley outside of Manteca.  12 years old, sitting on top of the Hayward Hills, looking west to San Francisco, and seeing the city clearly, along with the Bay Bridge. Remembering back then, how it used to be, not like it is now, with the myriads of people and the pollution.

Sitting in the shade of a lofty majestic pine beside a deep hole in the Truckee River.
Hooking a big fish on a trip to Clear Lake.
Sleeping on a blanket on the grass in Golden Gate Park.
Working as a pool hand at the old swimming pool at Tennyson one summer.

Back in the day, back in the day.
Need to wrap this up, I am getting carried away.

Time to go, I have rambled on for long enough. Having sufficiently increased my word-count for the day, I shall now retire, only to fight again, on another day. Back to the real world … I have rats to kill … checks to pay …

Life, what happens when you are not looking.

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