Saturday, June 17, 2017
What an Awesomely Awful year it has been! From the Endless Piles of Januweary through the Tiring Wade-Through of Politics. And now here we are at the Wondrous New Hood River Garbage System! And about that Behemoth: IF I can possibly get it out to the curb and IF I could climb into it, maybe I could just sit it out here and wait to be recycled!
(Whatever that week will be!)
In Salem, east of 17th Street between Mission and Market, is a fir tree that looks like a cell tower or a cell tower that looks like a fir tree. With all the artists in Hood River, we could make all the cell towers in the county disappear.
We are all human
Back in the late 1970s, I was a Biology major (now I am a Biology minor) enrolled in a plant taxonomy class in Virginia. My professor had two mantras: “A plant’s name is the key to its literature” … whatever … and “Species do not exist in nature” … What? … That concept still rocks my boat.
“Species” is a largely arbitrary category. Organisms exist on a genetic continuum. We invent the line that separates one from another, just like we do the lines that separate counties, states and nations. Fast forward to last week in Michigan. I am having a discussion with my son (he has a MS from Montana, and a Ph.D. in Biology from New Mexico, but once a Duck, always a Duck) wherein I applied this idea: “Generations do not exist in nature. People are born every day.”
He would have none of it. He said something about cohorts. I believe he has been had. How does the question, “What generation are you in?” even make sense? People are born every day. The idea that you are in a “generation” is a self-fulling prophecy. Who would gain from dividing us into generations? Who would gain from confining us into ethnic groups or religions? Who would gain from dividing us at all? The primary job of those would control us is to define “us,” and by default “them.” The 1 percent is in the business of creating “them.” We have codependent delusions.
The rich and powerful are able to believe they are better than everyone else because we believe we have enemies. The more we claim membership in arbitrary, trumped up subgroups, the less access we have to our real group, children of the Creator. Consider the spiritual teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Lao-Tzu, et al, unfettered by the religions that grew up to contain them. Consider the potential power of equality we have never known. We must finally achieve TRUE identity politics. We all have ONE identity … we are all human.
I love art. I love some more than others, but to experience art by those who have a piece of themselves wrapped up in their creation is amazing. It shows a moment of vulnerability and a deep sense of the emotions that the artist experiences. Art definitely matters. I cannot imagine a world without artistic endeavors. To not be able to read books, watch plays on stage, or listen to music is unfathomable. I have come to know the people at Columbia Center for the Arts and how open and supportive they have been with fiber art. I have shown my art pieces, participated in classes, watched plays, listened to lectures, and enjoyed other exhibits at the art center. They are one the many reasons I enjoy living in the Hood River Community.
Congratulations to the Columbia Gorge Center for the Arts (CGCA) for opening your doors and welcoming the local community into your space.
First Friday of this month was a wonderful reflection of what a community gallery CGCA has become. Upon my arrival, there was a vibrant atmosphere as family, friends, patrons and artists gathered to view the photography of promising high school students and the work of exhibiting artists.
The ongoing exhibits and events at CGCA highlight and reflect the diversity of our larger community. The center provides opportunities for all ages, whether it is stone painting for four-year-olds, adult book discussions, or dance and theater productions for the whole family.
Each monthly exhibit proves to be a delightful surprise. I am continually thrilled to view the array of talent of local artists, both amateur and professional. Exposure to art in all its forms enriches our lives, educates, provokes thoughtful discussion and nourishes our spirit. CGCA’s campaign this month, Art Matters, is most certainly true!
Hood River, we are blessed to have a true community arts center, one that is inclusive of all cultures and ages. Hats off to Kerry Cobb and the talented team she has working alongside her!
Wow! Look what happened when our nation’s great leader said, “No!” to that “Paris Climate Agreement.” And hasn’t our U.S. Representative Greg Walden been preaching, “Less big government and more little”?
And can’t we quote a Democratic president who “coined” the phrase, “It’s not what the government can do for you, but it’s what you can do ...”
Now haven’t we witnessed an outburst of determination from our smaller governments, businesses, and individual enterprises with “chest out” bursting with pride, putting into action the directives of the “Paris Climate Agreement,” accomplishing more than what would had been under big government rule?
Hats off to you, Mr. Trump, for revitalizing that old Tom Sawyer proven technique to accomplish what America had been demanding from its “clever” great leader!
A little girl leaned on a lion’s cage. Suddenly the lion grabbed her by the collar of her jacket and tried to pull her inside while her parents screamed. A biker jumped off his Harley, ran to the cage and hit the lion on the nose, causing the beast to jump back and let go of the girl. Then the biker returned the child to her grateful parents. A reporter, who had watched the event, said to the biker, “Sir, that was the most gallant and bravest thing I have ever seen a man do in my whole life, and since I am journalist, I’ll make sure to have your story on the front page tomorrow! Now, tell me about yourself.” The biker replied, “Well, I’m a U.S. Marine … I’m a Republican … and I voted for Donald Trump.” The following morning, the headline said, “U.S. Marine assaults African immigrant and steals his lunch.” Seems to be the media’s approach these days.
In answer to the question of the dependence upon petroleum products required by our local citizens in order to function, gather, protest, whatever, let me remind the reader that the trains full of oil and coal that ravage both sides of our grand river are primarily being sold to foreign countries for enormous profit, on the part of private companies who pay zero in benefits to all counties along the line, separate from “maintaining” their own tracks. We are the victims, not the benefactors.
The responsibility rests on all of us to do our level best to decrease personal oil consumption — from clothing choices to the bicycles we ride, the groceries we buy, how we cool and heat our homes, the signs we raise in protest, and the cars we drive, etc.
(The majority of electric cars on the U.S. market today, sadly, waste more in oil products to produce and maintain than those saved over a lifetime of use.)
Simply put, it is our duty as citizens and consumers to participate for the benefit of the greater good, and it’s a lot of hard, yet rewarding, work. Change takes time, and organizations such as Columbia Riverkeeper are getting it done.
With all due respect, please educate yourselves; only then are you more than welcome to share a credible voice in the discussion, even if we still disagree.
Amy K.W. Heil
My June 7 letter in which I thanked local teachers was misunderstood by local reader Maria Elena Castro. I was not trying to be witty or humorous in any way. I take the education and success of every single student very seriously.
My myopia referred to by Ms. Castro (June 14, “The Value of PE”) is based on a few facts: 1) Oregon ranks at the bottom for public schools based on university professors I know; 2) some local students seem to have difficulty making change and providing meaningful responses in conversation; 3) a teacher told me in confidence that certain students had “no business graduating (based on their performance in high school and their grades).”
PE and academics are not mutually exclusive. My last letter merely inferred that our school district should place at least as much emphasis on academics as PE. If our district chooses to use physical activity as the primary driver for classroom success, I feel we will fail our students. Furthermore, if administrative support for our hard-working teachers comes in the form of a 10 percent improvement in overall attentiveness through PE, we will remain a community which struggles to provide students with the tools they need for success as adults.
It will be interesting to learn if Kelly Running, our new Alternative Education principal (page A1, Hood River News, June 14) will prioritize PE in her curriculum designed to provide college readiness and career technical education per Measure 98 guidelines.
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