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Friday, January 14, 2011

Yoga-like Thoughts about the Coal Situation

On both Tuesday and Thursday I went to yoga. Twisting my body into various shapes makes me less anxious when the weather’s windy and cold. It also keeps me in the present, which is a good thing. Otherwise, I’d continue to obsess about the fact that this wind may never die down. Dori, the instructor, agreed with my musing that perhaps the wind is the coal spirits’ way of expressing their ire. Is it, we wondered, a coincidence that on Tuesday, the day in which the winds again flared up, that a pro-coal mayor was elected to the local borough assembly?

The no coal battle has been going on around here for well nigh over a year. The Usibelli Coal Mine Company wants to put in a coal mine in the Wishbone Hill area, and in this way, open up the entire valley to large-scale resource extraction, coal bed methane, and gravel and limestone removal included. Joe Usibelli and his cronies received the backing of the Borough Assembly, and are planning in the near future to begin extracting local coal. This coal will go to a foreign market, most likely, Japan. The bitch of it is, the Usibelli Company’s endeavors will open the door for other exploration in the area.

Dori also said that earlier in the day, she went for a walk, in an attempt to embrace the wind. She then laughed in a way that was reminiscent of the Dali Lama, as she added, “I later went outside and felt irritated. I just want this wind to stop!”

As I drove home, I tried as hard as I could to think yoga-like thoughts, and to embrace the damned wind. The strong winds that are now blowing might turn out to be our forte because the political powers that be might have a change of heart, and nix the idea of a mine going in less than a mile from a residential area. That is, if they have hearts. In the words of Bob Dylan, “it doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Here we have a causal relationship. Wind blows coal dust. Coal dust contains carcinogens. And carcinogens are bad for all living things.

Emily Dickenson once said that hope is that thing without feathers. I have spent years pondering her statement and have come to the conclusion that she means that if you believe in the futuristic idea of hope, then you’re a cooked goose. However, I cling to it like a burr to a horses’ tail, because hope, however intangible it may be, is all we got. Maybe, just maybe, local and state legislators will get the message, and before it’s too late, come to their senses.