Emerson, Politics and Myself

 

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I call it “The Rock of David”.

“The teaching of politics is that the Government, which was set for protection and comfort of all good citizens, becomes the principal obstruction and nuisance with which we have to contend… The cheat and bully and malefactor we meet everywhere is the Government.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson writes in his essay on politics that an ideal government, advocated for the growth of the individual and would be able to protect one’s individual rights.  Once an individual became completely independent and self-reliant they would be ready for democracy and the government could be abolished.  The richest asset one could have is the mind and the intelligence needed from each individual would triumph over politics and business interests.  He also valued personal rights over property rights.

He tells us that “The law is only a memorandum.” and his most popular quote was “The less government we have the better.”  Emerson had complete faith in the individual but he does a turn about on his views toward nations.  He goes as far to write, “Every actual state is corrupt.”  Political parties are “made out of necessity” out of the time period and not of any underlying theory.  He was not satisfied with either party at the time and hinted to the natural inequality the system adhered to and its effects.  Even back then he didn’t trust the pulpit and the press.  This is from Essays: Second Series published in 1844.

Now fast forward to 2017 and hold on to your arse.  Less government is certainly out of the question and there is very little trust for the press and the pulpit.  Our government has become enormous.  The thing that fascinates me is that we Americans put our trust in a group of people who steal from us (i.e. Social Security) and unless you have a rather large sum of money to invest in a campaign you aren’t going to get elected.  The majority of most of these elections are won by the person who had the most money to spend.  No, I didn’t say always I said most.  The average John Q Public has no way to be successful in a bid for a US Senate seat or House of Representatives.  The qualifications are easy enough.

Senate: 1) at least 30 years old  2) a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years at the time of election to the Senate  3) a resident of the state one is elected to represent in the Senate.

House of Representatives: 1) be at least 25 years old  2) have been a resident of the United States for the last 7 years  3) be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they represent.

Wow!  We trust these people to do what  is best for us?  Not even a high school diploma or GED required.  The real kicker, why would someone spend a million dollars to procure a job that pays one hundred seventy four thousand to two hundred thousand dollars a year?

 

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I see the bad moon arising, I see trouble on the way………

 

“Every actual State is corrupt.  Good men must not obey the laws too well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t know what the future holds but I personally think trouble is on its way.  We are a country that instead of taking a problem head on we just pass another useless law.  Representatives that make promises and never follow through.  Both parties promise the moon and deliver nothing.   Both sides still refuse to acknowledge why the election of 2016 went the way it did.  Fact is that Americans are fed up with the whole mess and demonstrated that in the voting booth and democrats and republicans still refuse to acknowledge it.

In my heart I truly believe the framers of the constitution tried their best to protect us from the greed of politicians.  Greed however is hard for humans to overcome and very hard to defeat.  The corruption within our government and political system iseventually going to be the death of a once great nation.  It is been there a long time but it seems the new politicians are bolder than those before them or maybe they aren’t as smart as their predecessors, because they aren’t doing a very good job of hiding it.

I hope Americans remain awake and keep sending a message to politicians that we have had enough.  They work for and represent us and it is time we quit keeping them in office when they don’t have our best interests in mind.  Ok I will shut up now.  I know I am beating a dead horse.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I really don’t like to write about this particular subject however I just needed to get it off my chest.  I am tired of seeing my friends and family arguing over a bunch of thugs, yeah I called them thugs, that don’t give a rat’s patootie about them.  Be sure to spread the love.

A Little Bit About Henry David Thoreau

 

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Monsanto Lake

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time.  To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.  I love to be alone.  I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I think one reason that I find the work of Thoreau so magical is because of the many things I feel we have in common, I too love to be alone.  Is it indicative of a selfish person?  I would hope not.  I personally don’t consider myself a selfish person.  I would like to think of it as a trait of someone that is independent and a survivor.  I am not what I would call a very materialistic person.  I am just a simple man who isn’t fond of drama and keeps negativity at a great distance.

In 1845 Thoreau built a cabin upon the shores of Walden Pond, a lake in Concord Massachusetts.  For the next two years, two months, and two days he would record his experiences as he learned to eliminate the material and spiritual details that trespass upon our happiness.  I can’t help but think what conclusion he would have come to today in a world dependent on modern technology?  Would he have been able to pull it off?  Yes I think he could have.

Walden: Life In the Woods was published in 1854.  It was a reflection upon the two years he spent living the simple life as a way of declaring self-reliance and independence.  Some folks have even referred to it as a manual for self-reliance.  During this time he wrote his first book, “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers”.

 

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Monsanto Lake

 

I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.  I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.” Henry David Thoreau

I can’t emphasis enough, how envious of Thoreau I am.  In a situation such as he created, I would think that one would learn to love themselves.  I am a firm believer that if one wants to succeed in life they must learn to love themselves.  I have spent two weeks by myself in the woods living the “simple life” and learned a lot about myself during that time.  I can only imagine what one would learn in two years.

I suppose though that this “alone time” could be detrimental to some folks suffering from depression.  It is hard for those folks to be alone and some definitely don’t need all that time to think.  If those people could train themselves to live this time alone and at the same time deal with depression I think it would be very beneficial to them.  Maybe, just maybe it would be a good avenue to use to defeat their demons and learn how to keep them away.

Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed it and the pics I shot.  The pictures are of Monsanto Lake located in the St. Joe Park located in St. Francois county near Park Hills, MO.  I could just see myself living in a cabin on the shores of the lake for two years.  Don’t forget to spread the love.

 

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Monsanto Lake

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Life in the Woods

 

 

 

Another Time, Another Place

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I defy the annals of chivalry to furnish the record of a life more wild and perilous than that of a Rocky Mountain trapper.” – Francis Parkman

Have you ever wished you were born in another time?  I have on more than one occasion.  If I could have chose when I was going to start my journey on Mother Earth, it would have been during the era of the Mountain Men.

Mountain men were most common in the Rocky Mountains from around 1810 to 1880.  They were male trappers and explorers who lived in the wilderness and were instrumental in opening various Emigrant Trails.  Most mountain men worked for a major fur company however a large amount of them chose to be free trappers.

Fur trading companies implemented a system for the mountain men to sell their furs.  It was called the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, founded by William Henry Ashley, and was around from 1825 to 1840.  James Beckwourth once described the Rendezvous as “Mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, trading, running, jumping, singing, racing, target shooting, yarns, frolic, with all sorts of  extravagances that white men or Indians could invent.”  The Rendezvous is still celebrated yearly throughout the United States in honor of the mountain man.  There are black powder rifle shooting contests, knife throwing, tomahawk throwing and primitive archery contests.  Folks dress the part of the era and participate in primitive camping and cooking.

“A mountain man tries to live with the country instead of against it.” Louis L’Amour

The life of a mountain man wasn’t easy.  It was hard and many didn’t last very long.  They had to be knowledgeable about medicinal plants and be able to treat themselves when they got sick or hurt.  They had to contend with bear, wolves and mountain lions to name a few.  They also had clashes with the Native Americans in the area.  They had to know how to trap, hunt, fish, tan hides, make their own clothes, and build sound shelter.  They had to be survivors.

A few notable mountain men were:

Jim Beckwourth – (1798-1866)  African American who lived with the Crow and attained the position, “war chief”.

Jim Bridger – (1804-1881) Was among  the first non-natives to see geysers and the wonders of the Yellowstone Region.

John Colter – (1774-1812) One of the first mountain men and was a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

A few others were, George Drouillard, Sylvan “Buckskin Bill” Hart, John “Liver-Eating” Johnson, Joseph Lafyette “Joe” Meek, Jedediah Smith and William Lewis Sublette.

“The mountains have rules, they are harsh rules, but they are there, and if you keep to them you are safe.  A mountain is not like men.  A mountain is sincere.  The weapons to conquer it exist inside you, inside your soul.” – Walter Bonatti

There have been times that I was floating down the river and would imagine myself as a mountain man and try to imagine what it was like to look upon sites that no white man had ever saw.  They had to be blown away by some of the breath taking scenes they saw.  How they must have felt when they came face to face with a blizzard and endured a Rocky Mountain winter.  They had to feel great accomplishment and jump with joy when spring fell upon the mountains and melted the winter snows.  Pardon my “French” but they had to have “gonads” the size of Texas.  They had no idea what they would face.  No doctors to run to when they got hurt or sick and if something happened to your supply of coffee your were out for a long time and it was a long way to a store to get more.

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“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir

It would have been a tough life and quite a challenge but I would have loved to try it.  Failure during that time usually meant a loss of life.  Definitely the “ultimate challenge” that would separate men from the boys or should I say real men from the men?

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  Spread the love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trick or Treat

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Pic I took at the old St. Joe lead mine.  Haunted?

Some believe that Halloween originated from ancient harvest festivals such as the Gaelic festival Samhain and may have had pagan roots.  Then there are some that think it began as a Christian holiday.  Throughout Ireland and Britain, festivities consisted of rituals and games intended to foretell one’s future.

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Special bonfires were lit because their flames, smoke, and ashes were thought to have protective and cleansing powers.  In Wales bonfires were lit to prevent the souls of the dead from falling to earth and later they were used to keep the devil away.  In Scotland, elders in some parishes banned bonfires.

Halloween is a favorite of mine.  Haunted hayride, chili, bonfire and good friends makes for a good time.  In the country Halloween was a good time of year to go “outhouse tipping”.   Then there is that dreaded fear of waking up and finding your house and trees covered in toilet paper.  Sometimes windows got “soaped” if you didn’t hand out candy.  I remember getting a lot of home made treats like popcorn balls but some very sick individual came up with the idea of putting razor blades in them.

In the 50s and 60s when I went “trick or treating” things were so much different than it is today.  One thing it was much safer.  We didn’t worry about razor blades in our candy.  I can remember getting apples and those Rice Krispie/marshmallow treats.  You always remembered the houses that passed out the good candy like Reeses Peanut Cups.  It wasn’t all store bought costumes either.  A lot of folks made costumes for their little goblins.

I don’t remember what year the first razor blades showed up but it changed the way one went “trick or treating” and it was necessary to start checking all ones goodies.  I may be dreaming it but I thought there was one time that a hospital offered to x-ray candy for folks and it was free!  It was a sad day in “goblinville” when some fool had to mess with Halloween.  That my friends is the rest of the story.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, it is deeply appreciated.  Wishing you a happy Halloween and may your “treat bag” be filled to the brim.  Be safe and be sure to spread the love.

 

 

 

 

Let Us Not Bury the Past

 

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In Memory of

Thomas Robert Burnette

January 31, 1915 – November 14, 1992

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“Mining is a dangerous profession.  There’s no way to make a mine completely safe: These are the words owners have always used to excuse needless deaths and the words miners use to prepare for them.” – Tawni O’Dell

Mr Burnette was a resident of Flat River, MO and he worked in the lead mines.  He worked at the St. Joe Lead Number 9 mine in  Farmington, MO and at the Pea Ridge Mine. He dug ore for nearly 30 years.  When he worked in the mines they didn’t do blood tests to check for lead poisoning.   During his time in the mines he cut a finger off and got caught between two ore cars and suffered a broken hip that had to be pinned.  After he healed up, back in the mines he went and worked there until he suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire at the age of fifty-eight.  His daughter remembered seeing his checks and said he cleared fifty dollars a week.  He was married and reared five children.  He is just one of many who worked in the mines and his family is just one of many that have all the memories of their families working in the mines.

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The Old Lead Belt is located deep within the eastern Ozarks of Missouri.  The Southeast Missouri lead district is a major part of the lead belt and has been a major player in Missouri’s economic and social fabric for more than 280 years.  In early 1700 a European by the name of Pierre Charles LeSeur led the first mineralogical expedition into the Mississippi Valley.  Missouri’s ore deposits have made it the nation’s major source of ore for over 90 years.  The abundant ore deposits brought thousands of workers to Missouri, where over the years they created 1,000 miles of abandoned multilevel mine tunnels,  300 miles of underground mainline railroad tracks and a legacy of 108 years of mining operations in the area.

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Drum roll……………., I am stepping onto my soap box.  Here is my beef.  In 1923 St. Joe Lead CO. purchased the Federal Mill No. 3 lead-concentrating complex.  They all ready owned nearly 950 acres in Bonne Terre that was bought in 1864.  In late 1975 they donated the Federal mine mill complex and its adjoining lands to Missouri for the purpose of creating a state park.  The Missouri Department of Natural Resources took possession of the 8,244 acre tract in 1976 and named it St. Joe Park and in 1980 the 25 acre mine mill was designated as Missouri Mines State Historic Site.

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I just visited the site along with Mr Burnette’s daughter and step son.  I am appalled by the way the state is letting the old mill fall into ruination.  I know money is tight but they could do more.  This site holds a lot of memories for the miner families in Bonne Terre, Desloge, Park Hills and the surrounding areas.  People died in these mines. Why let it die off?  This could be an amazing tourist attraction for these towns.  This site has so many possibilities.  There is so much history here.  PLEASE don’t let it fall down and disappear into the past.

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The 16,00 square-foot mine-mill powerhouse is being developed into a large museum providing information and the history of the mining business in Missouri with displays and old mining machinery and a huge collection of minerals.  It is a start but the site has the potential for so much more.

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In 1981 Doug and Cathy Georgens bought the rights to the Bonne Terre Mine and invested their money in the mine and have built it into a diving mecca.  They have daily tours also.  I have took the tour myself and it is fascinating.  The state of Missouri could save the history of mines in St. Joe and should do just that.  I urge them to set up a fund that people can give to the mine exclusively.  I also urge them to start funding the mine and start rehabbing the buildings.  Please for the sake of those that worked in and died in the mines save the mine.

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In closing I ask for anyone’s help in saving this mine.  Please write your representatives and if you haven’t, take the tour.  Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  Help save the history of Missouri’s mines.

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Big River, The River of My Choice.

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?  That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”  – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

I have had some people ask me what it is that attracts me so much to Big River so for this blog I thought I would share why this river has mesmerized me with its beauty and mystique I cherish so much.

Big River begins near the summit of Johnson Mountain near the ghost town of Enough. It flows through the Missouri counties of Washington, Saint Francois and Jefferson then it empties into the Meramec River near Eureka, MO.  It flows through Washington State Park, St. Francois State Park and through the Lead Belt mining district.  It meanders 145 miles through the Missouri countryside.  Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass, longear sunfish, bluegill, channel catfish, flathead catfish and red horse suckers are some of the fish that can be found in the Big River.

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Big River above Leadwood Access

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Big River

“Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.  The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.  On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops.  Under the rocks are the river words, and some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by waters.” – Norman Maclean  A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

I seem to always be drawn to big the Lead Belt area of the Big River.  The 108 years of mining in that area took a toll on the Big River in the form of contamination by lead. There is a contamination warning on certain kinds of fish caught in the Big River.  There are pipes that go into the old mines that are still in the river.  I am not sure what they were used for.   I was told that they were old test holes, used to pump water out of the mines and numerous other things but do not know for a fact what exactly they were used for.

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Big River

I spend a lot of time camped out at night in this area.  It seems to hold so much mystery within the banks of the river.  Sometimes there seems to be a presence with me as I go about my night of running limb lines and sitting by the camp fire.  Not an evil presence but like another presence in another dimension.  Sometimes when I am running limb lines and the fog is lifting it looks like spirits rising from the mines out of the water on their way to somewhere else.  Some nights it even makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  Oddly enough it is a pleasant feeling.  At times I have even thought that maybe they are wanting to share their secrets with me.  Maybe it is the past inhabitants of the ghost town Enough wanting to converse with me.  The mystery stirs my soul deep inside hoping that one day they will share those secrets with me.  One night while I was sitting by the fire I smelled cigarette smoke like someone was sitting right next to me smoking a cigarette.  Am I crazy?  Maybe, maybe not.

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A couple other things that attract me to the Big River is the beautiful scenery and last but not least the fishing.  My photos will never do the beauty of the river justice.  The tall bluffs and rock formations and the lined banks of beautiful trees make the Big River a great place to float and enjoy life. If the river could talk I wonder what it would say.  Would it tell me about the people that came before me, tell me about how it was before they started mining.  Oh the things it could share with me.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog.  I hope you find it interesting.  Maybe some night you will get to camp along the banks of the Big River and you can tell me if I am crazy or not. Be kind to one another, spread the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.