August 15, 2022

Heading For The Last Round-up . . . By Bishop


“This ain’t the same old range. Everything seems to change. Where are the pals I used to ride with? Gone to a land so strange. – Sons of the Pioneers

Remembering the Hopi prophesy, when we dig precious things from the earth, we will invite disaster. Indeed, near the day of purification, cobwebs will spin back and forth while a container of ashes will one day be thrown from the sky that could burn the land and boil the oceans.

To the Ancient ones, that situation was dubbed Koyaanisqatsi, meaning life out of balance, “life in turmoil, life disintegrating.” No sign of purification cobwebs yet in the skies above Phoenix, Sedona and across the Nation. Yet enough is out of balance to keep historians and archeologists busy for years—assuming there will be some still around by then, who have not yet become ghosts, or gone to Shady Grove, Stoneman Lake, or Mars, and assuming that the Yavapai have not retaken all the land in uptown Sedona that once was theirs.

Speaking of ghosts, this world-renown sheet, this penny dreadful, will become a ghost, entering the ranks of Sir William, the Flicker Shack, town characters, wise bartenders, the Wrenwood café, book stores, locally-owned businesses and shops, and a full, roaring Verde River.

Ah yes, ghosts. Day after day, voters wish that more and more of their elected officials in Phoenix would at least vanish for a day, if not forever. Consider the governor, who plans to spend more taxpayer funds on building prisons than on education, the legislators who are pushing to hold their deliberations in private and those that will vote to sever Arizona from the U.S. and run the forests, rivers and parks themselves.

And no one is marching?

No one is marching yet either about the proposed developers festival for the disaster plan for Grand Canyon, this though its springs are running dry. To be sure, two projects in the works defy even the wildest, crazy nightmare of the future concocted by the creator of this world-renown rag, Sir William himself. Truth be told by at least one publication, out of nowhere, Grand Canyon is under siege.

Believe it or not, one project in the foul wind, is a $1 billion complex of restaurants, boutiques and a tram that would carry visitors down to an Indian cultural center. Another, equally bizarre, is the proposal from a gang of Italian creators planning three million feet of retail construction, plus 2,200 homes in Tusayan, a newly incorporated village with a population of just 587 at the very entrance to the park. Park officials state under oath that if built this project poses a major threat to the water supply for the Colorado River. To make matters more multifaceted, many Navajos, having been promised jobs, are in favor of these absolutely bizarre schemes.

Why is no one marching?

Has everyone joined ranks of the “deniers” insisting that there is no poverty in our land, that too many history classes paint the U.S.A. as having a rough and tumble and violent past, that those warning us that the notion of global climate change is the manufactured creation of left-wing agitators, folk singers and mad poets.

The issue I wish to leave with gentle readers is: who will ask the tough questions, the controversial ones, when this legendary sheet fades into memories? Fortunately, there is one clarion voice among us – that of Graham Collier, war hero, author, dog lover, old-time gentleman. “What Price a Brave New World” he asks in his last book while quoting Roman statesman Seneca in 4 B.C. “We are mad, not only individually …what of war and the much vaunted crime of slaughtering whole peoples.”

Could such an indictment be made in our time? Indeed, states Collier, “we are just as ‘mad’ individually and nationally and are still waging wars and slaughtering whole peoples.”

In his considered view, science has opened a veritable Pandor’s Box. “Loosing evils upon the world in the form of atomic and germ warfare.”

No wonder, as he pondered over hot tea in Alice’s Restaurant one afternoon before the rains came, “no wonder so many people wish to go to Mars. Do think they’ll have honest newspapers, there?”

“Listen there’s a hell of a good universe next door, let’s go.” — e.e. Cummings

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