“Sierra Cement”


And so it was we sadly witnessed trees by the thousands — many hundred year old oaks — bent and broken — smothered and toppled — as irresistible forces of inevitable nature visited these foothills in the first 24 hours of a new Spring.

Our Oakhurst area was the regional epicenter. A furiously perfect combination of temperature and humidity unloaded wet snow by the megaton on Birch, Pine, Manzanita and more — fresh green buds unfortunately providing greatly increased capture space. As I awoke on Monday morning, the dawn was filled by the sound of trees cracking like rifle fire.

“Sierra Cement?” Yes! A perfect description! Daughter, Susan, claimed no pride of authorship as she uttered this phrase, having lived here for well over a decade, yet never having witnessed such a relentless, devastating example of this unyielding, unforgiving phenomenon. Nor had wife, Eileen, nor I ever experienced so powerfully unique a storm, although both of us were born and raised in Syracuse, New York, where an annual snowfall of 120 inches remains pretty much par for the course.

The amount of water that snow contains is known as the “snow to liquid ratio.” An average ratio is about 10:1, which means that 10 inches of snow melts down to 1 inch of water. The ratio for “Sierra Cement” is about 5:1, whereas good powder is around 15:1 or 20:1. Accordingly to the National Weather Service, our recent Oakhurst inundation was probably close to 4:1 — as heavy as it gets.

The single saving grace of “Sierra Cement” would seem to be its brief life span, unlike “Societal Cement”.

“Societal Cement” is formed and molded, often by passive acceptance. It sets and hardens — securing and separating us into unique personal, individual placement away from others — isolating all in varying degrees by religion, politics, race, national origin, sex, age, income and other often narrow divisions.

Yet ultimately, we’re all in this together, whatever “this” may turn out to be.

Why is gasoline now up to $4.00 a gallon while there has been absolutely no dimunition in available supply except that which has been arbitrarily and artificially imposed by limiting refining?

Because we’ve been conditioned to accept as inevitable the absurdity that certain forces are “beyond our control”

Why are governmental budgets being balanced on the backs of the old and poor while corporate profits are at record levels with General Electric paying NO taxes on FOURTEEN BILLION DOLLARS IN 2010 PROFITS?

Because we’re letting it happen.

Why has our Federal system become polarized and paralyzed?

Because compromise, the essence of cooperation, has been unilaterally condemned as capitulation and foolishly defined as unconditional surrender.

As one can be locked into a situation or system which rigidly prohibits spiritual, philosophical or economic extension beyond defined perimeters, remember that Societal Cement primarily exists to preserve the approved — to keep us in our place in line — all the time. A willful decision to accept selfishly formulated notions of others as personal judgment is self-imposed confinement.

Thinking is heavy lifting for far too many of us. It’s hard being truly free.

“Freedom of Thought” can not be found and is not guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. This may well explain why the “Tea Party” attracts so many spectacular non-thinkers, up to and including the entire programming lineup at KMJ-AM and their struggling FM stepchild.

Please consider thinking about these things. And doing something — about everything.

Trust yourself anytime you choose. It’s only Rock ‘n Roll.

One Response to ““Sierra Cement””

  1. Ellen Light Says:

    Well said Peter. I think some people have Cerebral Cement! Where did I put that jackhammer?

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