April 2013

Welcoming in spring in Mancos

By Art Goodtimes

SPRING HOEDOWN … Tami Graham of Mancos sure knows how to put on a great show. Her family-friendly benefit for the Montezuma County School-to- Farm Project (and her own non-profit The Pay It Forward Fund) packed the Mancos Opera House last month … As emcee, I got to auction off two live humans (for three and a half hours of gardening work). A neophyte as auctioneer, my calling was slow, but the bidding was spirited – Farm Boy Harrison went for $70 and Farm Girl Blaize for $88 … We square-danced up a storm with Carla Roberts and the Wild West Squares. My Rainbow buddy (and former Durango Mayor) Michael Rendon led his Caruta Roma Gypsy Band in a slurry of rousing dance tunes. Ashley Edwards of Hello Dollface delighted the crowd with indie soul, and Robby Overfield and the Breaks did their soulful music for the late-evening dancers.

THE TALKING GOURD

Dirt, Sky and Things Between
—for Lois Hayna at 100

A birder must watch her foot’s
solid placement between roots, prickly pear.
It’s slow progress through poplars,
willows so leaf laden each twig
holds silver/green birds
in a pre-Audubon hallucination.
Real warblers escape the lens,
magpies klatsch in ponderosa tops
and heat distilled sandalwood scent rises
above the ant-chewed underworlds.
She stumbles on a cedar branch, loses
her footing, her binoculars, language:
place and birds, coyote slipping into shadow,
no words for this desperate joy.

— Liz Lewis
Colorado Springs, Colo.

 

MANCOS … I have to say, this is the second time I’ve been down to Mancos for a great party and huge turnout of tykes and crones, steers and queers, and everything in between – rural Colorado as it moves from red to blue. Some of this energy seems to be La Plata County spillover – Mancos is to Durango what Carbondale is to Aspen. But some of it seems targeted to this rural pocket of Montezuma County, with its back up against Mesa Verde and the San Juans in the distant north. What used to be very conservative, predominantly Mormon country has now become a haven for alternative-lifestyle folks from all over – Santa Cruz to Abilene … Check out Zuma’s the next time you’re passing through on the highway, or maybe make a little detour for breakfast at the Absolute Bakery.

LOIS HAYNA … This grand dame of Colorado Springs poets is still observing nature and creating lyrics at 100 years of age. You can find a video of her 100th birthday party this past January on YouTube. An amazing woman. I met her through Poetry West – the largest community of poets and writers in the Pikes Peak Region. … Regis University maintains an archival collection of Hayna’s papers. As the site explains, It begins with poetry from her college days, and … essays and short stories she wrote in the 1970 -- 1980s. Of significance is a very comprehensive collection of her poems from the 1970s to the present. Also among her writing are drafts for an unpublished book on herbs, entitled “The Casual Herbist,” as well as her notes on herbs and a bibliography … Her poetry books include Never Trust a Crow (1990), Keeping Still (2008), and her latest The Praying Mantis (2012) – published when Lois was 99 years old! … A mutual friend, Liz Lewis, has written a lovely tribute to her, appearing this month as the Talking Gourd.

VAWA … Okay, time for me to eat crow … My political colleague Kevin Kell pointed out that most of his fellow Republicans in the Colorado delegation, including Scott Tipton (our Third District U.S. Representative), Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner, voted FOR reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in the House. Only Tea Party Lamborn voted against the act … I admit to being prematurely dismissive of Tipton’s willingness to entertain this piece of progressive legislation last month … So, let me apologize, and express the hope that U.S. Rep. Tipton and his staff continue to find common ground with Democrats (and Greens) on select issues, as citizens of his district so earnestly hope for.

MONTHLY QUOTA … “I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.” – Ray Bradbury

GUNS & REGS … “From my perspective and from deep within my conscience, I believe there is too much violence in the world, our country, our state and in our communities. Guns and weapons are part of this violence, and yet I respect and honor, even more so now, a person whose reason for owning firearms is to protect his or her family and children. I get it, but I believe there is another way, and I choose to protect my family and children without violence. I am willing to die to defend my freedoms, community, neighbors and family, but I am not willing to kill. Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye only makes the world blind,” and Christ admonished Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, telling him to put away the sword for “he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.” Our culture of violence permeates much deeper and wider than the violence perpetrated at the hands of someone wielding a gun. There are pragmatic solutions, and for me it comes down to being in right relationships with one another building trust and compassion while tearing down fear and anger.” – State Senator John Kefalas, Fort Collins.

Art Goodtimes is a county commissioner in San Miguel County, Colo.