A Nevada & Utah Drive, Where Mountains & Rivers Never Seem To End

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Gary Snyder has a book/epic poem “Mountains and Rivers Without End,” an opus that draws on all his Beat Poet/Zen/Nature crazy wisdom. I thought of that title today, rolling across Utah and Nevada with their respective mountains and deserts and highways (rivers not always evident), without end.
Many of the parts of Nevada and Utah that the 80 traverses are the hardest bitten ones: great swatches of possibly inhabitable land. Colorless, hot and dry, they’ve the look of being filled with snakes, barbed wire, abandoned buildings or …explosive devises (we read such a warning in the Mojave last week). We crested a hill and saw two white military dirigibles hovering over some treeless ridges. Again: WTF?
Thank the advent of Smartphones that you can Google “military blimp” in the middle of seemingly nowhere and find out that these floating behemoths are used to mount radar and are being tested in Utah. Hmmm… All that highway calls for much reading, aloud as to entertain the driver, including facts about the towns we’re cruising through. Who knew Rock Springs had such an oppressive and violent past?
Likewise a recent New Yorker provided additional information for review of such humans-behaving-badly matters. If you want to get more up to speed on the implications of the recent Supreme Court ruling Shelby v. Holder do read A Critic at Large: The Color of Law, by Louis Menand. Voting rights and the Southern way of life. http://nyr.kr/14AVbO8 



NOW.
 
It is a chilling review of the horrific obstacles the civil-rights workers endured en route to securing voting rights for African Americans in the 1960s and the very real and troubling politics that are in play today.
On a more positive note, we pit-stopped in Salt Lake City and enjoyed an evening stroll through the 80-acre Liberty Park, so named as its fountains, lake, picnic areas, aviary, tennis courts, trees and lawns were intended for all to enjoy, and indeed a large cross section of the city was happily doing just that on a warm summer evening.
Deborah Crooks
Deborah Crooks (www.DeborahCrooks.com) is a writer, performing songwriter and recording artist based in San Francisco whose lyric driven and soul-wise music has drawn comparison to Lucinda Williams, Chrissie Hynde and Natalie Merchant.

Singing about faith, love and loss, her lyrics are honed by a lifetime of writing and world travel while her music draws on folk, rock, Americana and the blues. She released her first EP "5 Acres" in 2003 produced by Roberta Donnay, which caught the attention of Rocker Girl Magazine, selecting it for the RockerGirl Discoveries Cd. In 2007, she teamed up with local producer Ben Bernstein to complete "Turn It All Red" Ep, followed by 2008's "Adding Water to the Ashes" CD, and a second full-length CD "2010. She's currently working on a third CD to be released in 2013.

Deborah's many performance credits include an appearance at the 2006 Millennium Music Conference, the RockerGirl Magazine Music Convention, IndieGrrl, at several of the Annual Invasion of the GoGirls at SXSW in Austin, TX, the Harmony Festival and 2009's California Music Fest, MacWorld 2010, Far West Fest and many other venues and events. She toured the Northwest as part "Indie Abundance Music, Money & Mindfulness" (2009) with two other Bay Area artists, and followed up with "The Great Idea Tour of the Southwest in March 2010 with Jean Mazzei.
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