Work Life Writing

Meeting at the Cemetery

Rural Cemetery
Rural Cemetery

BIG GROVE TOWNSHIP— There was trouble last night at the cemetery, the first such trouble since I was elected township trustee.

It had to do with who could be buried in whose plot, and the trustee who coordinates plot sales and burials wanted to discuss the issue. The funeral is Friday, so no time for dalliance. We are meeting at 8:30 a.m.

Two years into my term, being a township trustee has provided a steady stream of learning about our community. There has been time to consider things, and almost no controversy—just repeated expression of wills about what should get done and how. Any conflicts that surfaced were quickly resolved.

I’m confident we will figure this one out.

Yesterday it was shown that Mary Landrieu did have 59 votes to proceed on Keystone XL, and that’s all she had. The bill overriding the executive process on evaluation and approval of the project now goes into the dustbin of the 113th Congress. It likely will be back next congress.

I spent part of the last two days transcribing testimony to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide particularly.

“I began my career as a summer intern at EPA 42 years ago under what has euphemistically become known as Russell House One,” Dianne Dillon Ridgely said. “I was a 19-year old kid. And what is most dramatic is much of what we addressed that summer—in terms of air pollution, in terms of the public’s engagement on power production—are exactly the same things, particularly in terms of coal, that we are still addressing and fighting 42 years later, and to me that is really a sad commentary.”

Ridgley is a 42-year veteran of governmental action (or inaction) on clean air and clean water, having been appointed by Presidents Clinton, Bush 41 and Bush 43 to international delegations to address environmental issues. We’re still addressing them. There is hope the EPA’s actions won’t be blocked by the 114th Congress, something the presumed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated is high on his to-do list. Time will tell, but I believe we are on the right side of history regardless of what the Congress does.

My last workday at the local paper was Sunday. It will feel a little weird to be able to focus on my writing on the weekends instead of proof reading the paper. The bucket of part time paid jobs is down to three, and one of those is finished the second week in December. When the number surged to eight last summer, it was too much to juggle. Having found a bottom, the goal for next year is to keep what remains, and use it as a base. In addition, I will seek paid writing jobs and temporary positions and opportunities that can add a few C-notes to the treasury each month. What remains is that I work to support my ability to write.

Hope against hope, I want to get out in the yard and mulch the leaves, and shorten the grass. For that to happen, the snow needs to melt, the yard dry out, and half a day of warmer temperatures roll in. In these days of crazy weather, that is possible, however improbable. That’s where this Wednesday finds me.