Monday, October 7, 2013

United We Stand?

Have you ever wondered what it's like to work hard on a job where you're consistently asked to take on more responsibility and accomplish the same amount of work with less resources, only to be told you're "non-essential" and your career and all that it depends on is placed in limbo?  In case you haven't, I've included a graphic photo to show what it does to morale and productivity. 

Non-essential government worker receives furlough notice

Last Tuesday, I listened to the sound of trees dying as printers across the country delivered approximately 1.6 million pages of furlough notices to 800,000 "non-essentials" and begun the cycle of wasting time, money, and resources; both public and private.   As I drove through the entrance of Mesa Verde National Park, watching our Law Enforcement rangers turn back confused campers, I began thinking about the campground, restaurants, lodge, museum stores and the private workers who are now jobless with all the food lost as waste.  It occurred to me that this scene was playing out across the entire country;  experiments ruined, research and work left unfinished as their season ends, projects delayed or canceled, grants frozen, contracts lost... Perhaps the best example I know of and care about is MAVEN, the latest spacecraft ready for launch to visit Mars.  If it misses the launch window this November, the cost of delaying it for 2 years for the next possible window would cost $50-$100 million. 

All this waste is in the name of politics; essentially shredding mounds of cash for no results.  Now threats of a default loom, sure to spark instant inflation and likely the next recession, causing a much larger budget hole than anything being debated... wait, debate sounds like too rational of a process... anything being rabidly thrashed around in the dysfunctional pit of politicians known as Congress.  An article by MarketWatch sums up my opinion perfectly.

Seventh Falls, Silver Creek

Despite this stink of politics tarnishing the season, I have attempted to use the time given to enjoy a few more unexplored corners of the area.  A bushwhack up a mossy mountain creek rewarded me with 7 waterfalls, some with snow and ice from last week's weather.  My goal was Silver Mountain, but too much time wandering the creek and the sun setting early, I decided to turn back rather than get caught in the dark.

The aspens seem to be having a dull show this year at high altitude, but the oaks and willows of the canyons look stunning.  A few juvenile hummingbirds are still around, but soon they will be gone, and so shall we.  Two more weeks and we drive off to Denver to spend a week there, and then back to Dallas.

Bear Creek Canyon

The garden is done for the year, so the last of the meager harvest is just a few peppers, tiny tomatoes, and 2 small pumpkins.  Tonight, I hope to catch a few more bright fireballs of the Draconid meteor shower in the crystal clear night skies we've had the past few days.

Last of the Summer's Harvest

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