February 2009

Getting together to manage the Dolores River

By Art Goodtimes

DOLORES RIVER MEETS… For years I’ve wanted to come down to Dolores for the Dolores River Dialogue. I actually made one meeting. But the prospect of driving from Norwood to Dolores once a month in the winter (a more than two-hour drive one way) was daunting. In the summer, when I don’t mind risking my life in my antique 1969/70 cusp Toyota Hi-Lux (aka the Amanitamobile, since it leads the annual mushroom parade in Telluride the week before Labor Day), it’s a stunningly beautiful hourand- a-half drive down into the Upper Disappointment, some of the prettiest country in these parts. The reason I can trim my time by almost a half hour on a sometimes windy and steep gravel road over the 2.5 hours it takes on the paved state highway up the San Miguel Canyon and over Lizard Head is because I live at the northern statehighway terminus of the Norwood- Dolores Road, the very last house before Colorado 145 … But mostly, more than the long drive, it’s been my regional focus on San Miguel for my first three terms as a Western Slope county commissioner that’s prevented me from attending meetings for the second river that runs through my illogical but survey-accurate boxcar of a county. I was a long-time member of the Public Land Partnership, a regional public lands collaborative of four counties (Delta, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel) that won national awards from the Dept. of Interior and from the USFS Chief Gail Kimball. Out of PLP’s building a regional table of trust, lots of great projects have hatched, including the Burn Canyon Salvage Timber Sale Community Monitoring Project that I’ve been heavily involved in … But San Miguel County should have been represented. The Dolores River pierces my county south to north, just as the San Miguel trends west northwest … And thanks to the election of Commissioner Joan May to the Mountain Village/Ski Ranches/Ophir seat on the county board, I have a colleague willing to drive some distance to represent San Miguel County interests. She’s graciously taken over San Miguel County’s Public Land Partnership representation, where the focus has been on the Uncompahgre Plateau and Grand Mesa public lands … That has freed me up to attend the Lower Dolores River Management Plan Working Group, capably facilitated by Marsha Porter-Norton and well attended by a wide spectrum of stakeholders and citizens. Finally San Miguel County will have a seat at the table, helping decide the best way to protect that stretch of the wild Dolores River that runs though a county known for its other river, the San Miguel.

THE TALKING GOURD

Netsuke

Her backbone's a white
stripe that snakes
into a desert of sighs.

I sip at her nipples
of milkweed
& flowering yucca.

Dawn's glass jars
tinted grenadine
seep into our irises.

They cry: "Open us!
Open us!" & we do
as the wind does.

Above us Kokopelli's
rock flute & below us
Kali's molten allure

where mountain springs
roar through rumpled
bedsheets of limestone.

Paint the glaze of
our skin: my mirage
& I --

waves of pink clay
fired in desire's
dazzling cloisonné.

SONS OF THE ADDICTED … Formerly known as Fractalia and a fav band at the summer Dreamtime gatherings in Paonia, this Ridgway-based rock group has a hot new CD, “Fractal World.” Driving rock worthy of a big stage, it’s a big sound for a band from such a small town … Recently, celebrated recording artist, film and music producer Dik Darnell of Hotchkiss was shooting a music video of the Sons at the expansive Two Candles coffeehouse, bar and dance hall in Norwood. A charming man with a huge list of past accomplishments, Dik has taken on producing the Sons and found the eclectic décor of Norwood venue perfect for the shoot. And who wouldn’t? Two Candles is a wildly cozy space big enough to host a festival, with balloon fabric hanging from the ceilings, comfortable chairs scattered about, a small stage and the walls adorned with art work and a drive-in-movie-sized TV screen … Watch for the video, and catch the CD.

WEEKLY QUOTA … ”He thought religion and patriotism were a hustle. At one point, he edited the Ten Commandments down to Two: 'Thou shalt always be honest and faithful, especially to the provider of thy nookie,' and 'Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless, of course, they pray to a different invisible avenger than the one you pray to.” — Dave Tianen writing in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the late George Carlin (thanks to David Lucas for this item).

A PRIVATE FAMILY MATTER … Victor Rivas Rivers came to Telluride to speak at the invitation of the San Miguel Resource Center a few months back. A riveting and inspiring storyteller, he recounted his nightmare growing up. I was stunned. And motivated. I bought his book, “A Private Family Matter” (Atria Books, New York, 2005). And wrote several poems about the physical violence that passed for “discipline” when I was a child – like getting whipped with a leather belt on the bare butt … Of course that was nothing like the abuse Rivas suffered all through his youth. And yet he went on to become successful as an actor and a spokesperson for ending domestic violence … I think the Rivas memoir ought to be required reading for all males in American society (according to RAINN, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime) ... Up at the top of the watershed, the San Miguel Resource Center is hosting its annual Chocolate Lover’s Fling as an annual benefit for the campaign against domestic violence Feb. 7 at the Telluride Conference Center in the Mountain Village … 7:30 to midnight with DJ Harry … Dress like a beautiful bride or a corpse bride, dig out that old bridesmaid's dress, come as a groom, minister, wedding crasher, or shotgun wedding participant … Tickets at Two Skirts, www.tellurideticket.com, or SMRC offices.

Art Goodtimes is a San Miguel County commissioner.