Altanzaya (my wife) is today in the last minute throes of helping to organise her 30th high school reunion in the countryside. It’s hectic and most of the others have little idea of the amount of effort required -again thank you Angie-. It becomes all the more hectic for Altanzaya because as a deep practitioner of meditation and as a vegan she has no desire to spend a couple of days immersed in bacchanalian revelry (which is what her fellow graduates voted for).
Oh if only she and I could be joining the NWES reunion…so different it will be than her tomorrow’s reunion! I miss you and all the others on this list. Big hugs to all of you (except for Bud, for whom I send a huge kick in the butt).
I continue here in Mongolia. A land of great beauty and enormous difficulties. The resource curse that Montana has also been burdened with is even more acute here: With a population of only 3 million (the lowest population density in the World), we possess the world’s largest untapped coke reserves (which are probably close to having the same CO2 emissions power as the Tar Sands), the 3rd most valuable silver/copper mine in the World, huge uranium reserves which the Russians and Indians and others are salivating over, etc etc. Our capital city heats itself with coal and we are now one of the top 5 most polluted cities on Earth – in the winter air pollution is often 15 times higher than the maximum WHO standards. More than 40% of our land area is rapidly turning to desert due to watershed mining, deforestation and most critically over-grazing of domestic animals. On and on.
The resource curse has hit us hard. Unlike Montana which, if I remember correctly, established a sort of coal severance tax and I would assume actually has a functional judicial system: Here, we have basically caved to short term greed. Huge levels of corruption, ill planned hand-outs, stupid negotiations with the multi-nationals.Our economy is in a suicidal nose dive and we are in the early stages of a Greek style melt-down. Hence, part of the reason why I can’t afford a trip to the Reunion in August. I apologize.
Perhaps I am dwelling on the “negative” sufferings of Mongolia because of the NWES theme of renewable energy and positive change. But hey, in Mongolia we also have a super abundance of “positive” sufferings! The people, the culture, the spirituality, the nature. Just google images of “Mongolia” —- the images you will see actually understate the incredible beauty and serenity of this place……. For those of you who may still be into our Year 1976 Montana style hippy lexicon: This place truly is an energy center, by far one of the World’s most intense spots. I think this is why we have such extremes here of incredible beauty and accomplishment and, at the same time, so many disasters. Difficult, perhaps impossible to describe with words,…you must come and experience it.
…and for the renewable energyists amongst ya: Almost every herder household here now uses renewable energy (solar cells and wind and combo of the two). Imagine being 9 hours from the closest village, living in a yurt, no running water, etc but having 100 plus tv channels in a dozen languages with no monthly bill.
The Mongols once established the World’s largest continental empire. Yet, consistent with the Buddhist and Shaman philosophies that are followed here: They purposely, very consciously, chose to not leave behind any monuments, temples, statues, palaces, portraits, graves, or books celebrating their accomplishments. I think a lot of this Mongolian attitude of the moment, of acknowledging samsara and of the ephemeral nature of our material existence has rubbed off on me and is what helps me to be “okay” with the fact that I won’t be able to make it to the Reunion.
But hey I am far from being enlightened…so yes… I am not totally “okay” with it. I actually feel a deep longing, a pain in my chest when I think how good it could have been to join all of you this summer.
I have had and continue to have a blessed life. And it all began, was incubated and later cultivated by the vision and actions of Elizabeth and Wilbur. I owe the two them and everyone else on the big blue bus my life. I am who I am precisely because of those 4 summers.
I don’t know how to end this note. Perhaps I can sign off by attaching here a song by Nomi Jean (daughter). She wrote the words and music to this song when she was 19 and that same year recorded this (and other songs) in India with several of their most famous musicians. The instrumental at the end is an electric sitar (not guitar). Enjoy.
All of you: please fire up the inner Big Blue Bus in each of you and ride on over to this incredible land. We are waiting for you here. Please do come !!
p.s.: interesting…our daughter’s home is across the street from the last place Jim Morrison lived in the US of A.
“The Blue Bus is calling Us” …..
“Meet me at the back of the Blue Bus.”