David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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The March of Time (1997)

 

I was splitting stove wood, admiring the action of my new hydraulic log splitter and thinking about the contrast between pushing a lever and swinging an ax. My 29 year-old son, handing me the logs to be split, was thinking about how I was polluting the atmosphere with the 3.5 horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine.

Twenty years ago I would have said a log splitter was for wimps and trashers of the environment. Now I not only have a log splitter, but an electric saw, an electric air pump and a cordless drill/screwdriver, along with a host of other labor-saving devices. A friend of mine who thought nothing of using a brush and paint bucket all day now has a big compressed air sprayer. Is it us, or is it progress? Or is it just getting old?

The WIND, which Lorna Knowlton in Weaving Mountain Memories  describes as “scrambling trying to find enough volunteers to continue this excellent publication” in 1988 has indeed continued, and now has its own office, computers which publish the paper and manage the books, a scanner, a modem, answering machine and enough volunteers to ensure its survival into the next millennium. Would it be in such good shape without those devices? One wonders.

The competing forces of our desire to protect our valley and the advances in technology are everywhere around us. The building of trophy houses, with swimming pools and four car garages, is an outgrowth of these forces, as the rich seek to enjoy the mountain  environment while at the same time intruding on it. The travails of Crystal Spring and our other water resources display the same warring factions in the struggle to maintain the purity we once took for granted. Estes Park is widening Highway Seven north to its outskirts to accommodate the increased traffic to Carriage Hills, but as a result the project will certainly increase the number of accidents involving elk and cars.

When my grandfather came here in 1917 there was no electricity, no phones, not even any radio. He regarded all those things as intrusions on the tranquillity of the place. What would he think of the ten-year-olds who race their four-wheel all-terrain vehicles up and down Big Owl Road? What would he think of my log splitter? The thousands of people who spend their summer hiking the trails and climbing the mountains have the leisure to do so because of technology: the machines that help them do their work and the cars, planes and busses that bring them here. When Alonzo Allen made the trip from Longmont to our valley it took all of a long day. When I was a child it took a couple of hours. Now it takes less than one. Do we really want to go back to the Good Old Days?

My son is certainly entitled to worry about what my log splitter is doing to the environment. I’m glad he worries. I worry about it too, when I’m not celebrating the lack of sweat on my brow and the calm of my bursae. But if this machine means I can enjoy this place for a few more years, I’m going to use it, and any other gadget the Technology Genie can produce out of its bottle. If the widened roads mean I can have access to this place for more years, I’m going to approve of them. Sure, it’s completely self-centered, but I have plenty of company with that attitude. I want to hang around as long as I can, and I’ll be in favor of whatever makes that possible. I like the ramp at the post office, and my newspaper delivered in the box and satellite television and the dust suppression on Big Owl Road. And every time I toss wood into the 1919 Kalamazoo Prince in the kitchen I’m going to thank whoever invented the log splitter.

 

 

Columns

© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:

Introduction

Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]

Electricity

Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]

Hiking

Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders

Elevators

The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]

Visitors

Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird

Garbage

A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]

Weather

Fences

Commuting

Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac

June

Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer

Visitors

Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon

“Whiteout”

The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley

Infestations

On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]

Walking

Rumors About a Visit by the Pope

Progress?

More About Fences

Woodpeckers

The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government

Risks

Airports

Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke

 

The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983

Carpentry

Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House

Waving

The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?

Dogs

Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving

Garbage

Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”

Spring

An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins

Summer

The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI

 

 

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