The Snake and Portenuf rivers are brimful and, even with a brief lull, storm
clouds are now once again gathering in the Mountains Not-Far-Yonder.  The
late drought is rapidly becoming a dim, bad memory and regional flood
warnings are much to the fore.  Forest/grass fires may lie much further on
in the summer and some of us do worry a bit about earthquakes.  Winds
anywhere from 50 mph to 80 are not uncommon and power outages are relatively

Joseph Smith  [1805-1844] was the Visionary.  His youthful
visions/revelations and associated experiences -- and subsequent martyrdom
at the hands of lynching bigots -- established him as the initial and key
Prophet in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  But it was
Prophet Brigham Young who was the Organizer. Young guided his folk westward,
through always desolate southern Wyoming, to the land of the Great Salt
Lake. There is a legend that may well have foundation that Brigham Young,
along that most demanding travail, learned of the existence of the Lake and
its environs from Mountain Man Jim Bridger who in turn had learned of it
from the wandering and feisty band of Iroquois fur hunters led by
knife-fighting John Gray [Ignace Hatchiorauquasha.]

Brigham Young and his colleagues organized the Faith -- and a major city as
its primary base.  His style of organization was careful, systematic and, if
it wasn't always purely democratic, it was effective and it's been very
enduring and expansive indeed.  The Mormons held off a venomous Federal
government for decades -- and the increasingly Federally-backed Eastern
mining corporations as well -- until the time came that the Church could
deal with them mostly on its own terms.  Young himself was personally
prepared.  He often carried a revolver and was accompanied by the devout
Mormon gunman, Porter Rockwell [who as a still armed venerable, as Bill
Haywood indicates in his classic and dramatic autobiography [Bill Haywood's
Book, 1929], certainly impressed that future prime mover of the Wobblies and
his circle of childhood friends.]  On the whole, the LDS church got on well
with the Indians -- there were only a few local exceptions to this -- and
its historical emissary to the Native nations over a wide piece of the
Intermountain West, Jacob Hamblin, usually very well received by the tribes,
is known historically as "the Mormon Leatherstocking."

The Mormon faith is growing fast -- and globally.  It offers an attractive
theology, a strong communalistic dimension [which drew heavily from the
American Utopian traditions] -- and it pays a lot of attention to the broad
well-being of its grassroots [and others as well.]  Several hundred families
are organized into wards [each with its local Bishop] and the wards are
grouped in stakes [each with a President] -- and so on up the chain.  At the
grassroots, there are always storehouses stocked heavily with food and other
necessities for those in need.  Some Mormons are Democrats, some are
Republicans, and, citing Pocatello as an example, the unions -- craft,
industrial, teacher -- are full of LDS members.

What this translates into, among other things, in our bailiwick right here
is Preparedness -- something that was singularly missing in much of New
Orleans and several parts of the Gulf region.  Wherever we have gone, our
own family has been consistently well stocked with food, water, and guns.
[Yesterday, we even filled the gas-tank of our now sometimes-inactive Jeep.]
While some folks in the Grand Forks, North Dakota setting probably
considered us a bit odd, we [and our supplies and our move far to the west
of town] were, of course, sadly and dramatically vindicated by the hideous
flood of '97. And, as always, we shared with neighbors. [It's possible --
just possible -- that another flood could occur in earnest in that setting.]
With "weather" of every awful kind threatening much of the nation, the
Mormon church is vigorously pushing community preparedness -- with a focus
on individual and family readiness.

And that is precisely the level -- individual and family -- where things
have to start.  It's easy to blame politicians for Anything and
Everything -- and many of both parties deserve bitter blame for much.  Easy
to circulate an endless flow of angry articles on discussion lists.  But you
can't eat those.

So -- in the last analysis, when it comes to weather crises and many other
things, it starts with you and your family and your neighborhood.  One would
hope Everyone is learning much from the contemporary weather tragedies.
Maybe, but sadly maybe not.

In our setting here, the Mormon ward is Valleyview -- and that church is
close. There are as many Mormon churches in Poky as there are Lutheran
bastions in a comparable town in Minnesota and we assume that most churches
of any kind anywhere are now getting their folks and all others as prepared
as possible for any disaster.  The Mormons certainly are and, through their
churches, at-cost survival kits -- gas stoves, lanterns, food kits, and much
much more -- are being offered to All.  Most of us hereabouts are
prepared -- and, as I say, we always share that which we have -- but we can
always use a little more at least.

Life is a fighting chance.  To gain an effective edge -- tangibly and
non-tangibly -- one has to personally take the initiative.  No more, no

As I have often said, Geronimo knew how -- knew how not to only survive but
to fight.

Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]


Loki Mulholland writes:
Very nice.  The Church says we should have at least a year supply of food
and water and also, interestingly enough, a 72-hour kit.  This kit is enough
supplies (food, water, clothes, shelter, etc.) to last you 72 hours if you
had to evacuate your home.  It's something that's ready to move at an
instant.  What's interesting is that the majority of victims from the
hurricanes in Louisianna and Missisippi had to wait, get this, 72 hours
before help arrived.

All the best,

John Salter writes:
I like your post about self-sufficiency.  Hard to get through people's thick heads.  Remember Big Bill and his sack of pistols.  You do what you need to do and you're right; just surviving is for root-diggers, not warriors.
Michael Marino reports:
On Wednesday, April 5 of this month, Portland Peak
Oil presented a 72-Hour Preparedness Kit workshop from
the American Red Cross. Theirs was held at the St.
Francis Dining Hall, but said Hall can not reach all
the people who need to be more prepared, and all of us
could use better training in that regard, I do
suspect. There is a recent article by Hunter Gray
(reprinted below) which conveys his position on the
matter (lemme sum him up: "Be prepared!"). I missed
the workshop, and if we all did, then we might want to
look into creating new engagements for the Red Cross
to offer the same workshop to additional people.



David McReynolds adds a kind word:


A fascinating and sympathetic account of a religion I
simply can't believe (the whole business of the
tablets, etc.) but your view of things is brief,
helpful, and I'll send it on to my sister, who is
active in her church and to my brother, who isn't.

Spring is now fully here in New York and I hope also
out where you are,



Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

Honored with The Elder Recognition Award by Wordcraft Circle of Native
Writers and Storytellers:

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]