Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Letter To The BLM

The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act mandates, the Secretary of Interior shall manage wild free-roaming horses and burros in a manner that is designed to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on public land.

A friend of mine, one of the most dedicated horse advocates I know, reminded me that the removal of wild horses and colts that play and roam on 2 million acres in four areas of Wyoming, is becoming a reality. That is if the Rocks Springs Grazing Association (the largest livestock association in the country) and the BLM have their way.

Last year the RSGA sued the BLM to remove all wild horses from public lands they shared with cattle. They are forgetting that it is a privilege not a right to graze their cows. That the land they use is public. Yours and mine.

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (how lovely) owns part of the land known as Salt Wells, but the remaining is public. We're talking 1.1 million acres. In this particular area, the AML (Appropriate Management Level) is 365 horses. They want to zero out this herd. A roundup will occur this winter.

Adobe Town, has an AML of 800 horses on 477,624 acres. All but 5% is public. The removal of close to 400 horses might take place as soon as this winter.

In the Divide Basin, 600 horses are AML on 776,000 acres, but no more horses will be allowed in this area. The plan is to zero out this herd, leaving it strictly for cattle. A roundup is planned for 2014.

In the White Mountains, the appropriate management level is 300 horses on close to 400,000 acres. The new plan is to spay and geld castrate 205 horses and return to the range. Not only is spaying mares dangerous, it could kill them. This will be a "non-reproducing herd" to keep tourism money in Sweetwater County for awhile. Eventually they will be wiped out completely.

Yesterday was the deadline for sending comments in letter form to the BLM asking them to halt their plans for these inhumane wild horse roundups. Where helicopters chase them down and run them ragged, including newborn foals. Their little legs are damaged after these hard and erratic runs.

The amount of personalized letters and comments that they receive, supposedly make a difference.

I hope mine will.

Date: September 27, 2013, 10:12:27 AM MDT

To: "" <>
Subject: Wild horse scoping
To whom it may concern:
Save Wyoming's wild horses.
Tourism advertising boast visitors to "come to Wyoming to see the wild horses."
But, at the same time, they are being removed.
To see a wild horse, an icon of the west, is on thousands of people's dream vacation list.
Also, they don't want to see a horse who's been tampered with, gelded, fixed, etc. because obviously doing so changes the behavior of wild horses. They lose their "wildness," so to speak.
These horses know what's going on, and it shows.
The tourists know what's going on, and it shows.
Wyoming will have a bad reputation for heartlessness and greed and mismanagement and above all selfishness. The word is already going around.
These beautiful beasts were supposed to be protected BY LAW. The people who work for us, the BLM have broken that promise. Again. And again.
Please don't remove the horses. There is plenty of room for them and other wild animals to roam.
Cows don't belong here anyway. They turn our prairies into dust. Exchange them for bison.
Thank you for your consideration.

This beautiful image by Terry Fitch shows a sadness in their eyes and the BLM brand they all receive.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sojourn To Santa Cruz

Look what beating the tar out of cancer looks like. Have you ever seen a bigger smile?

My brother Glenn, has been beating cancer like a drum, alright. Like a big 'ol steel drum, down to the ground.

For over six months he was diligent in his diet and embraced the power of positive thinking.

The tumultuous cancer ride had its ups and downs. Sometimes the road led to bumpy one way streets, U turns and dead ends. At the stop sign, Glenn said YES.

He said YES to everything for many months. That was his mantra. That's his mantra today. Sometimes I get text messages from him that simply say the word YES.

Not long ago he had another surgery, to see if the cancer had spread any further.

He asked the Doc, Am I cancer free? The answer was YES.

I drove up the coast from SLO to Santa Cruz. The Eddie Money Band was playing on the beach for one of the Free Friday Night Bands on the Boardwalk shows. I hadn't seen Glenn since Christmas at my house. I actually made my traveling plans around this concert, because to be honest, I thought this might be my last chance to see him in action. The last time I would get to see him wail on the drums. The last time I would get to hear Eddie say, "here he is on the drums, Mr. Shakin' himself, Glenny Symmonds". At the time, when he was going through the-not-so-fun treatment every single Monday, I wasn't so sure he'd have the strength and the spirit to keep on keepin' on. But he did. And he does. And he continues to hold on to all the good stuff he's learned through the journey. He hasn't forgotten what was, and what could have been.

When I got to the Boardwalk, I made my way through the sand, through the chairs, the towels and blankets spread out, and the thousands of fans waiting to hear "Take Me Home Tonight." The sun was shining, the surfers were hanging ten and as I climbed up the stairs backstage laughing and jabbering with Tami, I heard my brother say, "I hear her!"

You can tell from the photos that Glenn and I are close. That we're a year apart in age. You can tell from the photos that we're brother and sister and that we like each other. I think you can see on our faces, the joy that we find in life. I'm ecstatic that he's cancer free.

Do I need to tell you how much fun the concert was? How entertaining and charismatic Eddie Money was? How many T-shirts Tami sold that night? How many fans this band has? How many loyal fans and friends came out to see my brother and wish him well? How many beach balls were thrown on stage and broken drumsticks tossed out to the crowd?

Do I need to mention how many smiles lit up the place? A million. Like the stars in that Santa Cruz sky.




**And, one last note to Glenn and Tami-Whami:

I forgive you, for sneaking off to the beach the morning after to watch the sun come up with Starbucks coffee,


********all photos taken by Glenn's main squeeze Tami @ Tami Landrum Photography********

A special thank you, to her. For coming into our lives.



Monday, September 2, 2013

Sojourn To SLO

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you,

but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach,

because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.
~ Frederick Buechner

Sunday morning phone calls weren't enough. I wanted to see my father's face as he tells me stories about the animal encounters he had when he was a boy. About the time when he tried to save a river otter from being run over by a speeding automobile on the highway. Or the story about the dog who met the three o'clock train every day, waiting for his master to return.

I wanted to hear my mother's laughter in person. You should hear it. It sounds like music. I like to hear about all the places she visited when she sang with a women's chorus group, performing at competitions around the nation. She was fascinated with the history of the old southern towns she saw. My mother is savvy and witty and energetic and British. And I was missing her.

I'm forever picturing my father out on his porch, playing guitar in the sun. Every Sunday morning, the first thing he tells me over the telly, is if the sun is out yet, or when the fog will burn off, and yes, it's going to be a lovely day today. Always.

I wanted to be there in person, to listen to him play his guitar on that sunny porch, to watch his hands make all the chords, to hear "Yo-Yo Man" and the Willie Nelson version of "Drinking Champagne". I love the part when he strums the strings strong and short and a little louder at the verse:
"Guilty conscience *STRUM* I guess
Though I must *STRUM* confess
I never loved you much when you were mine..."

Every day my mother swims. When I hear her tell me, over the phone, how wonderful the water is, I smile. I wanted to swim around the pool with her, to bob up and down and chat like a couple of magpies, like we've done before.

Have you seen the turkeys? I ask the same question every Sunday. Just before sundown my mom and dad walk to the creek near their house to watch wild turkeys fly from the creek bed up to the branches of the Monterey Pines. One by one they plume and fan their feathers then find their spot in the grove of trees to rest for the night. It's really quite a sight, every single time, and one they never miss out on.

And so...I went to see my parents.

California in August is lovely. When I drove up the coast from L.A., I pulled over to an ocean access in Zuma Beach, jumped out of my car and dove into the sea with all my clothes on! It was the best idea I've ever had. That set the stage for what was to come, seeing my family again.

I swam with my mother. I heard her sing. We laughed together. My dad played me a concert on his sunny porch. We went to see the turkeys. I heard stories that were new to me. I picked lemons from their tree, made lemonade and watched the baseball game with my dad. My mom and I went out to lunch. It's our thing, to go have tacos at Jack In The Box. One day we all went to Port San Luis and ate our lunch on our favorite picnic table. Over apples and carrots and celery sticks, we talked about the pelican with fishing line and hook tangled in it's wings and that we should report it to the harbor master. We watched a man sanding his beloved wooden sailboat, getting her ready for her maiden voyage out to sea.

We talked every night until it was time for bed, and I got to kiss my mama and pappy goodnight.

Now, I know you're wondering, is that my brother Glenn in those pictures? Was he on the pier too? How's he doing, you ask? Why yes! That is him! He was on the pier with us. He and his darling girlfriend Tami came to visit too. We call her little cutie. She's a professional photographer, and responsible for most of the photos in this post. And she and I are great pals.

Now, I'd love to tell you all about Glenn and how he's doing and what he's doing and everything. But, that's Part 2 of my visit. It deserves a story all its own. And I can't wait to share it with you.
Hold yer horses!