Not even a week post inauguration. 

I have taken a media sabbatical recently due to the excessive negativity. I have been significantly limiting even my Facebook time to quick scrolls and a post here and there. I don’t think it has been that long. My mood and outlook improved exponentially. However. In the last 48 or so, I find I must have missed some crucial information. I feel like I’m in a nightmare and can’t wake up. I don’t mean to get political again but is it real life that there are gag orders on entire agencies? I preach all day long that you are only as well as your deepest secrets. I think that trust comes from honesty and transparency. I understand discretion and trade secrets and military classified information, but the EPA, FDA and Game and Parks?!? Not really a national security risk I wouldn’t think. I am devastated by the KEYSTONE and DAPL decision. I have been trying to let go of my fear and accept the situation. I try to accept that there isn’t much I can do about any of it. I try to tell myself that the president doesn’t really have that much power and has to go through checks and balances. I feel like a bulldozer is marching through. He’s already pissed off the president of Mexico and is trying to pull out of the UN. I am half spitting mad and half scared shitless. 

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Note to self. 

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I love Halloween and for reasons like this. 

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Wisdom continued. 

I wrote back to the man that posted the oral tradition post I talked about in my blog titled “wisdom”. I thanked him for sharing and explained about our battle in the Sandhills.  I explained that his post reminded me to hold peace in my heart as I fight. This is what he responded. I was so honored and humbled. 

My apologies for the duplication of the screenshots. 

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Final (?) letter draft. 

To whom it may concern, and to whom are not concerned. 
I gather I have approximately four to six sentences before you stop reading so I will try to keep it short. 
Short version. 

“This is a bad plan for this area. You know it. I know it. Right is Right. Refusing to acknowledge Right in no way negates it. Please move this wind turbine/power grid project to a more appropriate location.”

If you are interested, please continue to read. 

Longer version. 

This is my fifth attempt to write about this situation. 

1. In my naive stage, I assumed that people involved simply were unaware of the unique and precious qualities of our area, the Sandhills. I patiently explained it’s Attributes and the connection to the land felt by those who live or were raised there. I outlined the history of failed efforts to farm the ground. I explained that the sand holds scars a very long time. You can still see ruts from the covered wagon or when people had to farm when they homesteaded the land. I explained how cattle leave a rut just from walking the same path and that I was taught that it takes around 20 acres per pair (cow calf) per year to maintain a healthy pasture. I explained about the ripple effect of one single grain of sand that is dislodged moves another 20 and soon we have a mess that is tedious to repair. Have you heard of the Dust bowl? I reminisced about the lessons learned from my father about being a steward for the land and working with her not bullying her. He taught me about soil conservation and the names of the native grasses. (The grass quizzes while checking water were my least favorite part of being his daughter.) but I learned to see the beauty in the smallest aspects of the prairie grasses. 

 I detailed the high water table that would be problematic for digging. If you have ever used a post hole digger in sand, it’s not as easy as it looks.  I cannot imagine the amount of concrete that would be needed on a wind turbine with 10 feet or so til they hit water. I outlined the potential impact on the the water, livestock and wildlife. 

But I realized hundreds of those letters had been written with little to no impact.

2. Then I hit the anger stage and wrote a letter comparing these plans to rape. Because it will be a rape of the land. This plan would take what it wants without Consent, create a lifetime of damage and scars and leave the destruction for someone else to put back together. 

But I realized that this type of letter would not have the intended impact because it would likely be sent to entitled men who would not or could not understand the analogy. 

3. Some of my friends who were not from the Sandhills asked me to explain what was happening and why I was so fired up. They know that I typically support green energy efforts. (I’ve been called a hippie, a flower child, a tree hugger. I’m okay with that.) So, I tried to share the importance of why this plan is unacceptable in the Sandhills area by writing an analogy as a letter to the editor. Hopefully, that helped a few others understand what is going on and why it is such a violation in so many levels, including personal property issues.  I doubt those in “power” were much impacted. If they read it. 

4. I did the research and cannot understand how (regardless of the personal or environmental impact), even financially, this is a good plan! So let me pose this question. If there were no incentives or tax credits, would this still be your plan? If you are not able to meet or extend the deadline, will you be as passionate about the project? Is this merely fueled by simple greed? Follow the money.

The above are my thoughts. However, this is also an emotional issue. Here are my emotional responses.  

A.  I am worried that the long term ramifications are not being taken into account. 

B.  I am frustrated by the way these “problems” are acknowledged but minimized with “we will come up with a plan for that later” or changing the wording so you are giving an answer to a question that was not asked. 

C.  I am captivated and queasy by watching the political double speak that spews forth when the people for this project talk. Even in their articles they contradict each other and their own documented words.

D.  I am also frustrated and insulted with the condescending approach of much of their rhetoric and propaganda. We may live in “rural” Nebraska, but we are educated, intelligent people as well. We just aren’t deceptive or malicious. We don’t have to “play the game” and have no desire to swim with sharks. 

E.   I am heartbroken with worry that, despite any attempts to appeal to intellect, integrity, or any sort of moral compass, these plans will likely blindly go through and no one will stick around long enough to deal with the consequences.

F.  I am sad to know in my heart that those with the power to make a difference may not lose a moment of sleep or peace over this decision that will have such a long term impact on so many people or such a special area. 

G.  I am enraged that corporate bullies in suits will attempt to steam roll over good people and use eminent domain to get what they want. Shame on you. 

H.  I am proud of the good people who are standing up for what they believe in. 

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While reading through the posts about the Peaceful protest at Standing Rock, I came across this post. This was in response to the arrival of the BlackLivesMatter group and some concerns that they may not abide by the Peaceful part of Peaceful protest. The author later stated that these represent the oral code of ethics that has been handed down for generations in his family. Sounds a lot like how I was raised. It actually brought me a lot of peace in my heart with regard to our own peaceful protest against the wind turbines etc.  He was asked if this could be shared and he gave his permission. It read as follows: 
 Please ask them (BLM) to study and abide by THIS at all times:
1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.
2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy – and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.
3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.
4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.
5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.
6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth – whether it be people or animal or plant.
7. Honor other people’s thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.
8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.
9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.
10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.
11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.
12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life’s lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.
13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.
14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.
15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self – all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.
16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.
17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others – especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.
18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.
19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.
20. Share your good fortune with others.
By Nicholas Hetchler

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For my city friends 

A lot of my friends are asking, “what’s all this Sandhills stuff you keep posting about?”  (I know it would probably be easier just to read the post but I get it.). So I have been thinking of a way to explain it to those who do not share the Sandhill experience.

Let’s say your parents built a lovely home in the suburbs when it was just being developed. They worked hard on the yard and maintained the house with love and attention to detail. There were hard times when money was short and the banks threatened to call in the loans, but your parents were hard workers and made sacrifices to save the home they loved. They had children there. They grew old there. The house needed some remodeling and quality products were used. They even started a flower garden with perennials from Aunt Mary’s gardens. It was so sweet with a darling little wooden footpath meandering through the blossoms. Those flowers brought a lot of joy over the years, especially her prize rose.  It seemed like it took forever to bloom but when it did it was spectacular! 

Sadly, as is the cycle of life, your parents passed on. They left the home to you. You had mixed feelings about it. It was a huge commitment and maybe you had dreams of your own home on an island somewhere exotic. But , you decided to stay and raise your own family in this home. 

Over the years you put your own touches on it: A swing set, a treehouse and even a koi pond with a water fall next to the delicate wooden footpath. The peace it brings!  You know it was the right decision to stay.  If your children want to stay you will keep it up for their future. If they don’t. That’s okay too because you gave them the option. You gave them a place to know what is important in life, you gave them a home.  

Then one day, the City knocked on the door and announced that they had made plans to turn the suburbs into a tourist destination of pink plastic flamingos. You say, “no thank you.” 

They say, “No really, it will be great! We will put the flamingos  all through your backyard and tourists can walk through and we will make a lot of money.”  

You say,” no thank you. I’m using that space for the swing set and I don’t think my little wooden footpath was built for that much traffic.”
They say,”that’s ok. We will shove that swing set into that old flowerbed and make room.”

You say,”I said no thank you! I like my yard how it is. It’s not that I have anything against Flamingos. I wouldn’t mind flamingos at the lake house, where the path could handle the tourists traffic. I don’t want people walking through my back yard and throwing their trash in the koi pond and breaking my footpath. You don’t understand how long it takes to get a pond just right for koi or how important that rose is or that it takes years before it blooms if it is moved or how long it takes to build a footpath.  I am not interested in your pink plastic flamingos.”

They say, “Seriously it’s going to be great for the area. The pink flamingo company gets all sorts of Money and the city gets a ton of money for doing it. It might lower your taxes and create jobs for the people to give the tours and the people to clean up afterwards and the people who will need to repair the footpath and restock the koi pond and cultivate new flowers that are way better than Old Aunt Mary’s.  Of course, you will be responsible for those expenses.”

Some of your friends and neighbors are upset that you don’t want the flamingos. They say things like “they’re just are set in their ways and don’t like change and don’t think the “expert” report from Cuba saying it will be good is valid”. 

Your patience is about tapped out at this point. “No. You are not doing that to my home”

They say, “Look. We weren’t really asking. We are just calling in our government given right to decide what we want to do in your yard.  It’s called eminent domain. The Flamingo’s will be there next week”.

You say “you can’t do that.”

They say. “Watch us.”

And that is why I am posting all that stuff about the Sandhills.  I am not against this project, I am against putting this project in this location. 

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First rape of the land post. 

Reposted from my comments ona Facebook post. 

For my friends that didn’t have the experience of growing up in the Sandhills or growing to appreciate the beauty of this unique land, please know that this(act of installing the wind turbines and huge power grid) would, simply put, have a devastating impact on the ecosystem. I am all for energy sources that capture the forces of nature: wind, waves, solar, etc. but this plan would cause more damage than they understand. When one grain of sand is disturbed, it loosens and moves another 20 and then there is a huge ripple effect. The damage from setting this up would still be evident to future generations as well. And when they fail, the clean up would be another rape of the land. The land is already scarred from man’s lack of understanding. You can still see the deep grooves from the paths of the covered wagons!! Then, twice, once when they homesteaded the land and once in the 1980’s ish, people tried to farm the land. Those ruts also remain visible. Those who don’t know the history seem intent on repeating it. 

I was raised there. The values of the people and the land run through my blood. In my family, we were taught to be “good stewards of the land” and “soil conservationists”. To work with it, not bully it. The people who want this don’t understand the unique quality of this particular area. It makes me incredibly sad. No matter where I live, the Sandhills will always be my “home”.  

In the early 80’s, I protested the plan to run an oil pipeline over the Ogallala Aquifer for similar reasons. We “won” that fight. They moved it at least from directly on top of our water source. 

I may not be able to attend the peaceful protest on the 19th (I’m trying to make arrangements) but I will be writing.

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Rape of the land. 

Right now there is a very real plan to install huge wind turbines and power grid poles through the very heart of the Sandhills. This is delicate land. This will be my third post about this. The first was articulate and well thought out but it didn’t save for some reason. The second was a Facebook post.  In that post I made an offhand comment about the cleanup being a rape of the land. I have not been able to shake my own analogy. 

When I visualize the literal phallic symbol of the tons and tons of concrete that they will have to transport across the fragile terrain and then sink into a delicate hole, it makes my stomach flip. 

There is also the matter of consent. They do not have it from the landowners who are trying to protect it and cherish this land that is part of their very souls.  This means something to them. Their (MY) relationship with the land is a long term and enduring commitment that has spanned generations.  It isn’t just physical for the short term relief of a stranger or someone who is pretending to court us. 

When we have said no, they just threaten eminent domain. They will take what they want because they can and any attempt to get permission was merely a courtesy. Forced into submission by something more powerful and less concerned with ethics or responsibility. Dinner before a date rape. The sense of entitlement enrages me. You might as well post their “swim meet times”. 

And when we express dismay, they blame and discount the victim. Her asserts shouldn’t have been so tempting. Her population so sparse. Her people so polite. We are bombarded with emotional blackmail that has torn apart friendships and divided rather than United. In therapy, we call that “splitting”. It is a very effective manipulation technique. 

And afterwards– they are gone. Having taken what they wanted, they will  leave the loved ones to gather up the pieces and put it back to some semblance of what was there before. We are strong and will survive whatever happens, but make no mistake, it will change things for generations. 

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Oh lovely reader,

I took this week off for a mental health break.  No plans, no deadlines, no stress.  I was refusing to give in to the cold that was playing with my immune system every morning.  I just needed some alone time, some rejuvenation.  I wanted to rest, nap, read, paint, write and play mindless online games.  I told myself and a few others that my plan was to clean out the storage unit.  I think I was only fooling myself.  Saturday I was in great spirits! Sunday, I felt sluggish, but went to the wedding shower and had an okay time.  Monday started out great, but then work called to tell me that a client had died. He didn’t answer his door and they believe he was dead a few days before he was found. Very sad, but his health was not good and he was probably going to need a nursing home soon.

Today, my sister called. I did not tell her that I was on vacation.  Not that I wanted to lie to her, but rather that she would have made delightful things for me to do, like come to Kansas to visit.  Not that I would mind that either, but as I said, I was trying to just relax.  Anyway, she had seen a perfect heart shaped cloud on her commute to work, but when she pulled to the side and took a picture, nothing showed up on the screen.  I laughed and said that it was probably a message from heaven.

A little later, I saw that she had posted it to Facebook.  Underneath it was a picture posted by a cousin, of her, my cousin, Scott, and me.  It is a fairly decent photo. It was one of my favorites.   As I read her post, I realized that she was saying that he died!  He was 50.  I turn 55 in May.  Apparently, he had a massive heart attack.  (We now know it was a blood clot) So young.  Married with 3 teenage children. He was a smart and funny man. Tragic.

As you know, we have had a lot of local suicides in the area. We have also had a LOT of bizarre deaths from meningitis or car accidents to unknown remains being found.  We even had a couple of murder-suicides.  Sometimes the loss is overwhelming.  But the alternative is not to love. And that would be an even bigger tragedy.

So, I want you all to know this ….  It’s all good.  If our last words were cross, it doesn’t mean I didn’t love you or know you loved me.  If you screwed me over, I forgive you.  If you lied to me.  I probably knew and loved you anyway.  If we didn’t talk for weeks, months, even years for some of you, it’s ok.  I hold you in my heart. Thank you for loving me, for teaching me, for laughing with me.

So, what does all of this have to do with my journey?  Everything. I am more determined than ever to do this workbook and grab what ever joy there is, for what ever time I have left.  I know that still means working for me, because it is a calling rather than a job, but it also means looking for ……whatever it is that is still missing.  I can’t verbalize yet.  Maybe its more travel, maybe it’s writing that book, maybe it’s a relationship. I just know that I need to take this seriously.  There have been too many signs. I don’t mean to sound cocky, but I know that I have been an important part of a lot of People’s lives and I know they will be sad.  Like I tell my daughter who doesn’t cry.  “You better cry at least until the funeral, and then throw a party and celebrate.  You can celebrate my life if you want, but for sure celebrate yours!”

Do yourself a favor and get the workbook(s).  Links are in the previous posts

LovE YOUR SELF dear reader.  Love others too.


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