Not even July and it has already begun. Someone took the boards out of the river in the middle of the night during our decreed water rotation. Going to be a long dry summer. Every blade of grass is going to matter.
A mother cow in the pasture behind the house watches closely while I mow the lawn. Her neck stretches out as she balances her big head on top of one of the white wood fence posts. Watching intently like a small child watches an older sibling divide rare candy into equal piles. She is waiting for the mower bag full of grass clippings to be dumped on her side of the fence.
It is not that she or any of the other cows around the place are going hungry. There is still plenty of grass, even if it is getting thinner and browner. This particular cow, not of our original herd, has acquired a taste for lawn clippings from somewhere else. Does she really like clippings more than fresh grass?
Interestingly, the U.S. Army facilitated funding for Facebook to conduct a secret social experiment on more than half a million of its users to manipulate their feelings. Reports I read did not list if these users were Americans or not. Maybe that is why so few people around here seem to care about this subliminal manipulation. Folks around here don’t seem to care about critical issues.
Apathy abounds. Apathy that even causes frustration right now while you read this when you were looking for a cute ranch story to escape the heat. You don’t want to read this. Or maybe, a little subliminal nagging in the back of your head says you do.
Maybe you want to dismiss manipulation. Think someone else smarter, with more time, more connected, more money can deal with the big issues like fracking; global warming (or climate shift, if that is too hot a political button for you); corporations, which are not United States citizens, unlimited contributions to our political processes; Iraq, a country so broken guns can not fix it; the over 50,000 children that have crossed our southern border, without parents, seeking refuge; legislators unwilling to fund closing Guantanamo.
Douglas County eligible voters by not voting indicated they can’t, won’t or don’t want to do anything about issues larger than their backyard. Someone else can deal with the big issues. By thinking like that, saying that, or doing that you actually are doing something. You are expressing apathy, abdicating your responsibility for your world, your country, your family and yourself. Which makes you pretty easy to lead because you don’t care where you are going.
Nevadans consider themselves independent. Dislike the taste of government control. Think politicians, unless they are affiliated with their preferred political party, are corrupt. And are very concerned with fees and taxes. Want to keep and bear arms to fight against a tyrannical government they might be forced to live under someday. But hardly care to vote, write a letter, or call a congressperson.
Unless gun-toting citizens shooting their televisions, smart phones, computers, radios, and any social media including books and movies, guarantees freedoms, even the basic freedom of how to feel, we are not going to be independent, free-thinking. And folks around here don’t seem to care.
Every blade of grass counts in a dry summer.
Marie Johnson is a Carson Valley rancher.