Friday, December 23, 2005

Where I live

Date: Dec. 22
Mileage: 3.3
December mileage: 289.4
Temperature upon departure: 27

It seemed like a good night for a solstice ride, but I wasn't out the door until 10:15 p.m. On my way up to the trail my headlight went out and my brakes were slipping under all the new, wet snow. That deflated my resolve just a bit - I was grinding into the soft trail (mostly for naught) and it was dark - really dark. Solstice dark. A good thing to practice - but the headlight I need.

I was happy, though, because my illustrious Sen. Steven's first bid to open oil drilling in ANWR failed in the Senate. It's a mixed happiness because I feel a helpless sort of pity for my state's senior senator. I always picture him bent over some table in Congress, with his rumpled "Incredible Hulk" tie and the creeping great-grandfather sadness of his 80-plus years. He looks so tired and I think he just wants to go out with a bang. That's all he wants. But his bridges to nowhere crusade was just embarrassing. And now there's the band-aid ANWR solution that does little more than add to Alaska's fat coffers (not that I'll see any of that money. All of this revenue comes back as rebates for "real" Alaskans. We newbies get pay the tourism taxes and send our children to substandard schools.) But using ANWR to curb the mounting oil crisis is like trying to make Koolaid with a teaspoon of sugar ... you can make a little Koolaid, but try to spread it around and everyone's only going to end up with a bitter taste in their mouth.

For those who support the issue, all I ask is to consider what good it will actually do. Keep a few million cars on the road for a couple more years? Then what? I've stood on the edges of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; I've looking toward the sweeping tundra, rolling over an endless horizon; brown, desolate, still clinging to winter in June - and so unspeakably beautiful.

I'll give up my car. I will. Just tell me how to fight for this world's last true places.