Monday, April 2, 2012

Finally, Some Moisture! How Should We Proceed Through 2012 and Beyond?

Ahh, spring!
It's been a little too long.  I can't even remember the last time it rained.  Admittedly, the short term memory that drives these fingers across the keys is a little, how do you say, toasted, but I think the few clear minded people in Manitou would have as hard a time as I am remembering the last time that it actually happened.

My skin is breathing the moisture out of the air, and the trees are practically making a sound with the amount of water they're sucking up.  Just yesterday, the thought of this kind of weather seemed like a fantasy.  Man, I love Colorado.  Even if we don't get a single drop from the sky, the plants are still getting watered.

If you haven't started your seeds, now is the time.  I'm kicking myself for holding off on planting out of fear of frost.  It turns out we could have probably put starts in the ground at the beginning of March.  Oh, well, live and learn.  If the climate keeps changing at this rate, we'll be able to grow dates and mangos up here before this round of babies is grown.  It kind of puts a sick spin on the climate change "debate".

All across town, the perennials are popping up, and seeds are hitting the dirt.  If the trend continues, we're going to have a few great harvests to look forward to this fall.  We ought to get the gardeners together this year for some harvest feasts.

There's a big buzz this year going around the kids at Soda Springs Park.  People want to turn the dirt.  A lot of the kids out here don't own any land, their parents don't own any land, and their odds of home ownership in the projected economic future are depressingly low.  Add in the fact that a lot of the jobs that these guys have to look forward to are degrading, low paying, dead-end jobs, and you can kind of see where I'm going with this.

A lot of the people you see hanging out at Soda Springs Park in Manitou Springs, CO, are ready to drop what they're doing and go work in a garden.  A good portion of them don't want money, and they don't even want a part of the harvest.  What they want is to do some honest, difficult work that will actually benefit something aside from somebody's bank account or stock portfolio.

Manitou Springs, CO
The younger generations of today are confronted with a unique situation that is foreign to humanity throughout its history:  they are unable to find people who will allow them to work, even for free.  The helping spirit of older generations has by and large been killed by the dollar, and they cannot understand someone wanting to work for work's sake.

When a young person offers assistance, the general mental response of a person who might genuinely be able to use some help is, "What is this person trying to get from me?"

Something to take in mind is the fact that most of the work that is offered to them is limited in effort and responsibility and totally fruitless.  When a young person wants to swing an axe or use a shovel, they want to do it because they think it's fun.  Their jobs generally entail spatulas, grease, mops, dishes, cash registers and other tools that are just not that interesting to use.

Because they were born into a plastic and fully automatic world, this new generation has the same fascination for real labor as the previous generations had for automation.  The same way the greatest generation and the baby boomers wanted to strap a motor onto everything, this new generation wants to take all the motors back off and see what REAL work is like.

Manitou Springs, CO
The propensity towards automation has driven the working class out of its place and replaced it with a small, fortunate group of equipment operators.  This drives up the price of oil while at the same time driving down wages and living conditions on the majority of the people.  This in turn drives up the price of food, and symptoms of widespread poverty become obvious, even in the "nicest" places.

What we as a community can do is we can turn our lawns into gardens, and we can bring in the young people to help work them.  Instead of flipping burgers and frying fries so that someone else can reap profits from it, they can help us bring this town a step closer to self sufficiency.

There is a dream here in Manitou Springs.  It is a dream that one day this town can feed itself.  It is a dream that we can work together to support ourselves as a community through thick and thin.  Instead of trying to become Aspen or Vail and trying to sweep the "undesirables" under the rug, we can convert this city into a model of self sufficiency and community cooperation.

As the world's oil reserves wane in a civilization that uses it as though it is infinite, and as our food supplies grow scarcer and more distant, we move closer to global economic depression.  As all of this falls into fewer and fewer hands, more of us are going to start feeling the pinch.

If we take steps now towards eating food that is grown in Manitou instead of Mexico, we may be able to duck past this global trouble and truly thrive in this little nest of canyons.  Manitou Springs Street News will be with you every step of the way through this exciting time.

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