Native Writes: The warfare on our minds is winning

Whenever someone declares that it was difficult to celebrate Independence Day this year because of real and perceived threats to our nation, I remember people in our country who still aren’t independent.

Government control? In this land of the free? It’s not a jack-booted thug at the front door, it’s a jack-booted perception planted there by the powers that be.

A woman who has come here illegally from another country won’t report domestic violence or rape out of fear of being deported, yet her family set off more than $200 worth of fireworks in the back yard to celebrate independence she can’t share.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) isn’t an immediate threat here in our Valley, but newscasts on TV bring fear that it might be.

Insurance is required before one can license a car, yet people are up in arms about being required to have health insurance.

I’m a senior citizen and freely admit it, yet I am expected to keep my yard as weed free as someone one-fourth my age. I will have to mow it all again after the recent rain and wonder where I can rent a couple of goats, who would be evicted as soon as animal control discovered them.

My mom, were she alive, would likely go “out back” and find something to eat. She was like that.

How can I determine which is a weed and which is a desirable plant? Simple. the good plant is easy to pull, the pernicious one has roots reaching down to tickle the Devil’s fancy. My mom knew because she had a couple of books and spent a lot of time “stalking the wild asparagus.”

She had a large jar filled with leaves she called “Mormon tea.” It tasted great with honey, vaguely like licorice. It was amazingly relaxing and, consumed at bedtime, the door to peaceful sleep. A college friend who believed all medications had their basis in herbs declared he found out that mom’s tea was the “base plant for phenabarbitol.”

Just what happened to mom’s books is a mystery to me. I think she knew the end was near and gave them to a friend of mine, who has since died of auto-immune deficiency.

She ate some amazing things and, with the help of my oldest son, harvested dandelions for salad greens and wine. Today, he lives in Pueblo, where dandelions are strictly forbidden.

We’re still free to make as much wine as we want, but we must grow marijuana, which is technically a weed, under strict conditions. I can’t call mom and I won’t harvest and eat the mushrooms that sprung up in the back yard.

We dine in fear. Genetic Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not to be trusted due to implied dangers and the abundant sprouts of my young adult years aren’t found in many places because someone, somewhere, became ill.

My granddad, who lived past 95, swore by alfalfa seed tea and sweetened it with honey from either Knutson’s or Haefeli’s honey farms, unpasteurized if possible. A floating leg or two made all the better. It was a treatment for arthritis.

Today’s young people recoil at that thought. They beg for prescribed opiates and get hooked on them. Which is worse, a bee’s knee or a sure path to early death?

Nature’s table is overflowing with wonders. My favorite has long been nasturtium leaves, but today I fear chemical sprays and people aren’t planting them as often. I could, but the nature of the soil in my yard doesn’t encourage growing.

Our high altitude eliminates many bugs and vermin that exist in lower climates, yet people buy potatoes from Idaho that are “certified organic.” They pay more, but local spuds are just as good.

We are chained to ideology and warfare on our minds is winning.