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27: open space

Dear Friend,

Sometimes I wonder if it is possible to tell the truth about something wherein the truth does not include violence and greed. What is a really ‘true’ story? Whenever human beings are characters in the plot, there seem to be layers and layers of injustice marbled with goodness and terrible truths. We don’t necessarily know the truth about the yucky things that human beings have done. Acts of selfishness, cruelty, deceit, all hidden from sight, left out of text books, buried in the past, for the sake of making the world seem like a better place. How does hiding such reality make a better world?


I’d love to talk all about how wonderful it is that open space exists and that there is some sort of utopia surrounding all of wild nature. As you know, nature provides its own edge-of-your-seat raw dramas, whether or not human beings are even involved. We know that nature gives and takes and, in the balancing, not everything or everyone survives.


There is beauty in this balancing. It is a gift to have the opportunity to observe, and to participate in the wild!

Wild life needs a place to be wild. Nature is a delicate balance of all life. There are people that champion nature’s needs, making it possible for open space to exist. People come together to discuss the pros and cons (and all of the logistics) of saving out millions of acres of valuable, beautiful land across the United States, but these people do not always agree on how to go about it.


Before I can celebrate the goodness of having access to open space, and also Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, or, public lands, (and believe me, there is no view on the earth more lovely to me than a landscape free from man-made clutter)…

I’d like you to know that I am painfully aware of the controversies surrounding open space –  when people don’t agree about how to do things, there can be conflict.


It is wonderful that people agree that open space needs to exist and we are grateful that so many care to make it happen! In the process, disagreements can lead to stifled communication and misunderstandings. Some of the issues: Land grabs, profiting Cattle Ranchers, Wild Horse and other Wild Life Obliteration, Fenced in Water… as in any conflict, there is so much more to the story.


Regardless of whose ‘side’ we’re on, we need to be aware of these things while enjoying the land and its wild inhabitants.


Protecting the land comes down to a balance of human plot and opinions; it would not take much for this balance to be toppled.


What would the world be without open space for wandering?

For decades, Taylor Graham, Poet Laureate of El Dorado County (2016 – 2018), has given poets and poetry lovers a place to meet; she and her husband, Hatch, welcomed (new-comer) me in January of 2018 to Tuesday at 2:00 (a weekly poetry read-a-round). I’ve had the honor of their friendship ever since.


Hatch and Judy (Taylor) Graham walked the walk when it came to championing nature. Birds and other creatures, land, open space, all prominent topics in Taylor’s poetry and in the heartbeat of Hatch’s legacy. He truly knew and loved the land and its critters.


He once laughed, ‘There isn’t anything easy about nature.’ Hatch had a twinkle in his eye and a knowing chuckle, nature was to be respected. At the read-a-rounds, when it was his turn to read a poem, Hatch often sang a song. His voice, his passion for the story in the song, was always such a treat.


In this video, Open Space, Hatch Graham sings from the heart, ‘Don’t Fence Me In,’ and ‘The Wayward Wind.’  Frank’s nature videos and photography accompany to give tribute to Hatch Graham and to celebrate his genuine love of the natural world.

For many years, Hatch and Judy Graham, along with their German Shepherds, aided in countless Search and Rescue (and recovery) missions in the United States and beyond. Read more about Hatch and Judy Graham at Somerset Sunset.


We’re grateful that our paths have crossed with so many people who care about the land and its creatures, Judy and Hatch, among the bravest, most selfless, ‘real deals.’


As always, Frank and I want to thank you for being here to read Tracks by the Post. Please write to let us know how things are going in your world. And we’d love to hear your truths about open space!  


Wishing you a way to keep cool and a happy week ahead!


Gently Be,

Leslie and Frank


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