November 28, 2023

Neighbors & Other Ironies, by Bishop


The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive. – Robert Heinlein

Now we know, with John Keats that there is no point in waiting for warm days, now comes a dose of reality as the New Year dawns. Don’t look now, gentle reader, but you, we, every Tom Dick and Harry are knee deep in irony, otherwise called incongruities. Consider the principal threats to a healthy community, namely our own. Some say it’s the tree huggers, others cite liberals or Tea party strategists, or ex- Stalinists or uninformed, vision-less mayors.

Truth be known the threats are among us. They are to be seen at the post office, recycle center and Canyon Auto. No, not tourists, not ADOT, no our neighbors; not our other neighbors, maybe less than ten who arrived here from Chicago and from Michigan where they could control the noises around them. Noises like music, chanting, school kids yelling and playing.

“Ironically we came here seeking tranquility—and we thought we’d killed the beast,” shared one former corporate panjandrum with a home near a public park known as the Posse Grounds. Now the city is still considering some sort of performance building up on the Posse Grounds. We are not going away.” Ah yes, irony. Cut to D.C. where a classical collision is at hand where Tea Party and many GOP insist that unemployed are too lazy to look for work, plenty of jobs around and corporations need more loopholes.

When, truth be known, jobs are as scarce as humming birds in winter philosophy. Indeed, hard facts reveal the economy is recovering from mess created by many of same voices now insisting that workers don’t need emergency insurance, and busy hacking funds for emergency food programs, too. Talk about irony! Newly published books spell out details that high government officials before 9/11 received intelligence reports that deadly potential bombers were eyeing large skyscrapers and learning how to fly planes only for takeoffs. No one has gone to jail?

Speaking of jail, with facts pouring out daily about really shocking financial practices triggering the latest recession – and, while thousands have lost their homes and investments—no high-level executives have been prosecuted. What? European visitors sampling Rim Rock wines at the Grape (once Wrenwood Café) one evening not long ago barked these questions: climate change forcing trout to swim up Oak Creek and polar bears are running out of ice flows to catch seals upon them. Why aren’t people marching? “Could it be,” said man with a foreign accent “that denialism has replaced communism.”

Good question! For those concerned about the state of our skies, creeks and air and wildlife, Utah’s Jack Turner needs to be heard. Everyone knows that polluters are the coal companies, other fall guys are tourists, loggers, industrialists, cowboys or Republicans, though they personify the problem.

“No,” says he, “enemies are abstractions. Even wild nature has become abstract. No, it is our increasing ignorance of what we have lost in sacrificing our several-million year old intimacy with the natural world, and our diminished personal experience with nature…we need a radical transformation that revalues the wild earth, its mystery, order and harmony.

As Thoreau said ‘what we need now is a culture that deeply loves the wild earth.’” The problem Turner writes, is us. Speaking of the wild earth, and the land, water and air, good news these days is so hard to find. Instead, stories of blood in the streets in the mid-east lead the news, alongside gun massacres wherever they occur. But wait! Wait you Sedona leaders who brag of our supposed innovation.

Something is really happening in California, the land of whackos, kooks and nuts, according to our own Arizona rednecks. Simply stated, solar energy is turning the state’s power systems upside down. And if the trend continues, reliable sources report, the fossil fuel, nuclear gang can hang up their future plans and drop them into recycle bins. What’s up? Currently widespread policy is to store electric power in batteries during the night from traditional coal and gas, and let them run down in the peak heat of the afternoon.

In places in California that world is being reversed: solar power feeds batteries during the day, and then around nightfall, power companies draw down that power as consumer demand rises. No pollution, no waste, cheap power, no need to go war for oil.

Why can’t Sedona do the same? “But that would take vision,” weeps a onetime city official, now divorced from anything to do with the city.

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