Time or money: which should one to strive to posses?


Climbers in their natural habitat. Photo: Matthew Sapiecha.

     Finding a balance between having money and having time may be one of the more important problems of this generation. Having money is equated with happiness, though the two are separate. It surely gives a sense of security, having a stockpile of cash that can be turned into whatever wants or needs that a person has. With time you can make money, but you also have the liberty of choosing whatever it is that would fulfill you most at that moment, or at least what you think would fulfill you most. With many people time can spiral into meaninglessness and depression, as they are unsure, or unable to do activities or projects with that time that bring them happiness. Trading money for time is how many of us trade our lives to this/that corporation or industry, being compensated for our time with some cash incentive.

     Money may be the single most damaging thing to the environment. After all, look at the tribes in the middle of the Amazon which have no money, and are in balance with their surroundings. When money comes into the picture, it takes the shape of a ruptured oil pipeline polluting a river, or a bulldozer making way for a coffee plantation.

     The more money one makes, the more resources that person will tend to use. There will be excesses of waste wherever there is excesses of money. The United States is a good example of this. We will build ten thousand square feet houses for two people to live in. With enough money, maybe you can have three of these, in each of your favorite states. We will fly to Mexico, Florida, and the British Virgin Islands in a years time because we have enough money to pay the airlines for their fuel. Our dollar has more value than many other countries, so we import our tomatoes and peppers from poorer countries. Sometimes we pay immigrants low wages, as in California, to grow and harvest all of our fruits and vegetables. The value of the money is more to them in their own country, so they don’t mind. How many resources are being squandered because of excessive money. How many bathroom remodels. How many fridges, stoves, microwaves, and washing machines are just called outdated and put on the curb. How many people are installing TV’s, one on the wall of every room. How many bikes are idle, chains becoming stiff with red rust.

     Money isn’t all bad, but tends toward squandering resources (perhaps because we need stuff to give us momentary happiness). Some money is spent as salary for people mixing test tubes in labs and finding molecules that will halt cancer in its tracks, or renew the myelin sheath’s around nerves, or rebuild the cleft pallet of a newborn. It can be used to repair the ecological devastation caused by the mining and development that created it(money from ecological exploitation) in the first place. It can make computers available to every child, allowing for infinite learning potential. It can buy art supplies. Most importantly, it can buy time.

     So why are we chasing money so we can have that two month trip to Thailand? It is the people we surround ourselves with that truly bring happiness anyhow. Why not just use all that time to spend with them, playing cards or growing a garden, rather than striving to make more money. We could ride bikes or walk through the forest smelling flowers, but we sit behind a desk and dream of what it will be like when we get to the white sand covered beaches with palm trees everywhere. When we arrive, we are antsy, and the relationships with those that we brought along are still strained from the late nights at work and the stresses of being a cog in the production wheel.

     When we as a society want to focus again on relationship centered structure, having a balance with the natural world, I will want to participate. Until then, I will try to make just enough money to buy time to spend with the people that matter most to me. Here’s to you not buying anything the rest of the day, and instead having a nice conversation with someone you love. 

Jordan Moore and Myself on Astrodog, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a few years back. Photo: Chris Kalous.


More creekin’

     Climbing, climbing, and more climbing. It is a wonder that I made it back to yesterday’s court date at all, seeing that there is so much red crack to img_0022climb south of Moab. I ended up forfeiting to the state my right to travel freely since it was becoming quite troublesome to fight, having perpetual future court dates which interfere greatly with my pursuit of happiness, namely fixing my sailboat in south Texas. I registered my van, paid the state patrol, and filed a motion to change my plea to Nolo Contendere, which allows for conviction while still maintaining the distinction of not being guilty of the crime. I hope that the judge sees it fit to grant my motion, otherwise I may have to file further motions to avoid showing back up in Colorado at the end of February. In the motion I stated that “I was acting img_0045within my rights as a natural born person to travel freely on the public highways pursuant of Shapiro vs Thompson. The state converted my right into a privilege contrary to Murcock vs Pennsylvania 319 US 105. I acted in accordance with Shuttlesworth vs City of Birmingham 373 US 262 and ‘engaged in the right with impunity’, since charging a fee (registration fee) for a right is in violation of constitutional law.” I did register my van in hopes that some leniency would be rendered. As my monetary situation slips, I can neither afford nor have time to return in February.

Muddy sticking his tongue out at the man!

     Enough about being bullied by the state, oh the climbing! Thanksgiving was a feast, and all the wonderful souls that showed up hammered out a great dinner in the desert. We had stuffing, creamed green beans, mashed yams, turkey, pumpkin pie, and many other great small dishes that topped off our bellies. Thanksgiving celebrations in the creek have grown exponentially in recent years(to the dismay of local BLM authorities who tried to put a damper on things by enforcing two car limits at camp sites-so everybody can poop in the bush separately, because that makes ecological sense). Climbers from all over come together to be with their climbing family. Regular families are not radical enough; anti-establishment enough; anti-corporate enough; or so enlightened as to know all of the tragedies of modern society. This is the family that wants to fix things, but partially forgoes working within the system (maybe just me). Patrick recited to me one of his children’s books about water, encompassing the hydrologic cycle and the importance of conservation; certainly he will be a beacon for a change of heart of future generations.

Ice tool shenanigans

     Climbing shenanigans persisted: Ralph sauntered in his underwear, Kyle lied back through many hundreds of feet of climbing, Muddy was happily tired daily, and we all soaked up the sun in large clusters on the red rocks.  On one rest day ice climbing tools came out in order to traverse the downed cottonwood tree in camp.  We played hammerschlagen, and filled the campfire with friendly banter. There were many pounds of vegetables to eat, and all of us had wonderful BM’s img_0013for the duration. Sometime in the middle of the trip, the cold and snow came to meet us. Despite the flurries of large flakes, the remaining crew was not disheartened, and we stayed warm around campfires and cookstoves. Today is bitter cold, and cloudy, img_0052though the forecast calls for a warmer change. As such, I have no problem getting laundry done and preparing to go back. Yes, I must delay my return to the boat. Sometimes you enjoy the company of another so much that rational decision making goes out the window. A couple of extra bucks in gas and I’ll be off to spend another ten days climbing, high on the rocks. I feel that it may be exceptionally lonely heading down to Texas for a solitary christmas afterward: a stark contrast to all the love and laughter that I have had the joy of being immersed in over the last two weeks.


img_0076     It was nice to come back to news that the Army Corps of Engineers refused the easement for the Dakota access pipeline per president Obama, but over time the news was somewhat overshadowed by the prevalence of Donald Trumps tweets in the media, this time aggravating a nation, China. The Dakota access partners will likely drill anyhow, perhaps under president Trump, or will be forced to reroute the pipeline(is that a win?).  I found a segment on NPR glorifying live feed prison visits in lieu of hugs and other contact with family members particularly disturbing, especially given that the privatized prison systems are also charging up to a dollar a minute for at home live feed visits.  Can’t wait to be out of the loop again, and dependent only on the changing sky.  Gifts of tobacco to the gods bestow sunny days.

Fighting the good fight.

     Enjoying the farm life for a little longer now, I have a December fifth appointment with the Mesa County Justice System for driving my Vanagon without registration. Despite how inconvenient this is in delaying my plans, I am finding things to get done. I was adamant that my Vanagon was my “domicile” and not my “motor vehicle” since there is absolutely no commercial purpose that I use her for. That combined with my right to travel freely as mentioned in Thompson vs. Smith, 154 SE 579 stating “The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by horse drawn carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city can prohibit or permit at will, but a common Right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Now you may think that this is just a fight over me paying my one hundred dollars a year to have a sticker on my van, but the real issue is the constant overreach of the government into our pockets, and the acquiescence of the public to allow it. The revolution starts with yourselves, despite how inconvenient it may be to give up a days work to show up to a court hearing. Maybe refuse to pay your obamacare penalty for not purchasing health insurance FROM A PRIVATE ENTITY! The fact that health insurance is mandated to be purchased and is subsidized (money going to the insurance companies-from tax dollars) by the Government is criminal. Too many people are busy in their daily lives to give a hoot anyhow. Our national debt is up eight trillion in the last eight years; Arriving at twenty trillion dollars to date. Perpetual war(terrorist farming), corporate subsidies, tax loopholes, and bureaucracy overgrowth are the cause. Maybe if there were more people like Henry David Thoreau around, who refused to pay taxes to fight the mexican-american war and was subsequently jailed, we could fight this thing together. I know that Adam Kokesh at least has the right ideas anyhow. We just need a nation of moral character again.
     Woke up to rain this morning, wet bike seat on the way to the head, but compensated by the aroma of fresh rain. I have been harvesting my pot plants the last couple of days! Hooray Colorado! I opted to trim the plants initially while they were still in the ground, then chopped them for drying. This img_0017is my first harvest so I’m learning as I go. I used the trimmings to make oil, which is better than clogging up the alveoli in your lungs by smoking it. The whole process has been fun and interesting; just as watching any plant take form over a season. First the plant is scraggly and weak looking, then beefs up the stem as a response to being rocked by the wind, finally to bud out with blossoms ever filling with THC and CBD’s. Interesting fact: cannabis was fist made illegal due to competition of hemp in the paper industry with the cutting of forests for the same(pulp): it was a backdoor move by William Randolph Hearst to solidify his power and to push his own ideologies. How did the legislation get past the doctors and farmers who then relied on producing cannabis plants, species with and without THC, for paper pulp, clothes, seed oil, etc.? Manipulation of a word was the culprit. They called it marijuana. Seems commonplace today, but everybody referred to it as cannabis in the day, and so the alarms were not raised. Remember, it is through words that laws have their power. i.e. motor vehicle. I will not delve into how the word “income” has been twisted and manipulated over the last two hundred years, perhaps another time.


     I did get a nice four day retreat over the last interval of writing. I was planning to spend some time alone bouldering and hiking, I ended up meeting an Australian that was on a sort of extended holiday in order to pay for his kids college tuition. He put his house up for rent ,and his indoor plant business was running well enough that he could take care of anything that came up from the road. Dave referred to it as “fucking off” in his native dialect. We had some great hikes together, with many beers and much laughter to follow each day around the campfire. He had a lot more hope in the ability of humanity to change things for the better and curb our destruction of the planet, and spent a good part of the weekend trying to convince me of the possibility. Certainly anything is possible. It is really just a consciousness shift, people understanding that they need to enact changeimg_0004(now) to protect the prospects of their children: to leave a habitable planet. One thing that we both agreed on was that “free time” is the most honored of all our possessions. It is something that money can never buy back. To surf, ski, snowboard, kite, spend time with loved ones, bicycle, play music, and all the other infinite possibilities of things to do while creeping toward death are much better use of time than busting your ass to make a dollar. Happiness is an internal circumstance, it does not have to yield to externalities, though it often does. The only picture I got of Dave was when he was climbing a tree to check out a nest, I thought a Raven. Pretty agile for being over fifty!

    All I see currently is a continuation of daily life as if we were all going along on a fine path. Off to work again today! Maybe you can legislate people into being greener? That is the method used in the past when concerned with a “tragedy of the commons”-a resource that would otherwise be abused if not for judicial action. Examples include grazing on BLM land, where perhaps the land would be abused, grazing too many cattle per hectare, if not for legislation. The same goes for fishing, legislating a catch limit based on fish availability in order to ensure everybody gets a bit. Dave and I talked a little about how, maybe it would be good to have a benevolent dictator. We can save this resource, planet earth, together. Lets build bullet-trains, mag-lev transport, and more solar infrastructure. I personally am a proponent of a ten dollar per gallon gasoline tax which goes wholly toward renewable transportation. Then we will see how many people drive across state lines for the weekend. We were late to save the Great Auk and the Passenger Pigeon was thought to be impossibleimg_0018 to drive to extinction until we shot them all down. Currently we are dealing with the collapse of the Atlantic Cod fisheries due to overfishing. Not on your radar? Well it is now. Go and do something about it. Grow a carrot!



     The secretary of state crushed initiatives 75 and 78 this year, which would have let local communities decide how their public resources are being developed, including fracking on public land. Tell me again how voting makes a difference in a corrupted and divided society?

     If you can’t tell, the climate has weighed heavily on my mind lately. It often does. Thank god for weeds ability to allow us to forget. It doesn’t help that the climate wasn’t even mentioned in any of the debates that were “performed”.

     On a positive note, the birds that still are finding this planets resources sufficient to avoid extinction are migrating, back from the boreal forest in canada to the deep amazon in brazil. There are several mallards who have stopped by the pond at the back of the farm on their way back. I have seen many dark-eyed junco’s here around the orchard, checking me out while I trim. A Cassin’s Finch stopped by to say hello as well. Yesterday while I was driving into the orchard there was an American Kestral on the power line eying his next meal. It gives me a little hope that all of these beautiful birds are flying around and managing to be a beacon of beauty to the world out there.