A cryptic song and video was recently released, the director playing with multiple camera planes and lights, producing, in my way of thinking, a mysterious, foreboding ambience reflecting the predicaments of folks separated by human barriers.
Walls, walls aren’t made for falling down Feel it grow, it’s falling now Tear it down, tear it down Walls, walls aren’t made for solid ground Over, under, through it now Just take it down, take it down
Esperanza Spalding, without the instrument of choice, an upright bass, but with the strains of Hammond B3 (I think) sings a short, quiet exclamation about the 30 years that Cornelius Dupree, Jr., served in prison in the wake of a wrongful charge. If the whispers of protest aren’t enough, the song’s end makes it plain.
How can we call our home, the land of the free Until we’ve unbound the praying hands Of each innocent woman and man In these lands of the…
One of the disappointments of our stay in Denali National Park was not gaining closer access to the fabled peak via the Park Road. Climate change has a number of disadvantages, including the story of this road. Currently, visitors may only travel to mile 43 of the 92-mile access towards Denali. The road was built atop permafrost, and warming temperatures caused the roadbed to slip every year until it finally gave way entirely. It was not an overnight slip, though. Climate change, warmer winters and rain impacted the bit of road near the formation dubbed “Pretty Rocks” on “Polychrome Pass.” The area, according to park information has been subject to rock slides since “at least the 1960s,” but only required major maintenance every two to three years as the roadbed started to slip. Initially, in the 1990s, landslides below the high road caused cracks in the road’s surface. By 2018, the road slipped at a rate of almost a half inch a day, increasing to three-and-a-half inches by August of 2020. In early August of 2021 rains lubricated the whole area, the land moving at more than 10 inches per day. There are some pretty cool time-lapse photographs at https://www.nps.gov/dena/learn/nature/pretty-rocks.htm.
Meanwhile, we were able to glimpse the famous peak numerous times, thanks to warm and dry weather that kept clouds from covering the snow-capped Denali. The Mat-Su Valley blog has information on ways to see the mountain, but the season is rapidly drawing to a close. It’s Alaska, folks. Several bus rides were available when we were at the park, to take us to the interior, one route of taking riders to mile 42ish of the Denali Road. From that roadblock, one was able to hike a pretty good incline (two-plus to three miles or so) to one edge of the collapsed section of road. There, we were able to see the dramatic drop. We speculate we picked up our minor cases of COVID while riding (masked) on one or another of the bus rides we found. We were fully immunized and boosted. In the photo, in the background, is the other section of road. Each side has instrumentation to further monitor slippage, if any, as park officials decide what to do about road restoration.
This is posted to help celebrate the gains that labor hava helped win, and that includes the uppity folks who stand up to the military machine.
I marched in Minneapolis, Chicago and Duluth. In San Francisco and New York, I marched to shout the truth. I marched in Hiroshima and knelt before a stash Of tens of millions bones of people atomized to ash. And with the distant rumble of new regiments of men, I read the warning on the tomb: “This must not be again.”
We got the word that at low tide at Homer Spit, that a walk along the beach would be a great experience.
How right that was.
Along the piers of the dock were tirds of starfish, a lot of starfish.
I’m told they are not picky diners. I imagined this particular group had plenty to choose from, judging from all that clung to the lower portions of the piers.
We watched them bend and crawl while keeping a wary eye on hundreds of gulls doing their own dining and dinning the air with their calls.
We camped on the beach (above the tide line) at Homer Pit, a part of Alaskan history and story. The 1964 earthquake swallowed the breakwater and rattled the area for three minutes. In effect, the spit “sank,” flooded periodically and had to be rebuilt.
Nowadays, the spit is a tourist haven and includes the historic “Salty Dawg Saloon,” relocated after the earthquake. Regrettably, we stayed clear of the saloon, given the evrerpresence of COVID, but the couple of nights on the spit had plenty to occupy our time.
I lay no claim to being a geologist. However, I am impressed by evidence of the massive forces behind the movements of the earth’s plates and the study of those plates. Periodically, too, there is evidence that tremendous pressures are involved as land is formed and shaped.
On a short hike around Horseshoe Lake in Denali National Park, I had to capture a few images. I don’t know how these formations came to be along a sheer drop-off, but they are hard to ignore.
To get to the little jewel of the lake, you descend a relatively steep trail to the level hike. (The fun part is hiking back up after a serene stroll around the lake.)
Hazel Dickens cuts right to the chase in this folksy, bluegrass labor song. Born in 1925 and passing in April of 2011, it’s not hard to see Dickins as pro-union and feminist in the music composed, played and sung.
United we stand, divided we fall. For every dime they give us a battle must be fought. So working people use your power, the key to liberty. Don’t support the rich man’s style of luxury.
This chestnut has been a favorite among folks who gather to resist. Here, in 2011, shouter Craig Adams and company present a jazzy, swinging rendition. If music hath not the power to halt militarism, it certainly moves the hands and feet with the promise of more healthy coexistence.
I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield Down by the riverside Down by the riverside Down by the riverside I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield Down by the riverside Gonna study war no more.
This rouser has lots of echoes of the circumstances of Native Americans, as well as nods to (and shouts of) the music of the First Peoples. I’ve posted this tune before, but it’s such a favorite, I can’t resist calling attention to it a second time. Good stuff by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tanya Tagaq and band.
Babe, ain’t we been down. We been so broke, and we been so low I kissed the ground. But you can see yourself a winner beyond the money and the greed. Beyond the pride is a pure untested need, To be a champion is more than luck and speed, It’s power and freedom in the spirit of the wind.