I've spent the last 20 days with family and friends celebrating Monsieur Big Bang's graduation with his master's degree from nearby Highlands University. We took my parents up to the Cimarron area for a day. There we saw the remains of the town of Dawson, New Mexico. Dawson was a mining town important to our family because it's existence supplied the need for a railroad depot and a new town called Roy, New Mexico, where my grandparents were raised. Ironically, Roy still exists as a small town but Dawson was closed down decades ago by the railroad company that ran it. You can visit the cemetery and the memorial to the miners who lost their lives in some horrific mining accidents there.
We also visited Philmont Boyscout Ranch, where Monsieur Big Bang did his field work last summer. We visited the area where he camped (which is near the house of Gretchen Sammis, a very interesting woman rancher who was heir to the Chase Ranch) and toured the Waite Phillips house at Philmont. Oil entrepreneur Waite Phillips donated much of his New Mexico property to the Boy Scouts in the 1950s.I bought a little commemorative book of his epigrams from the gift shop. He had some good things pertaining to the writing life:
- If you want to be a singer, start to sing. (Elsie Robinson)
- A man is generally what he thinks about all day long. (Emerson)
- The man who never makes mistakes never makes much of anything. (Waite Phillips)
- What is really important is what you learn after thinking you know it all. (Waite Phillips)
- The big shots are only the little shots who keep shooting. (Christopher Morley)
- 'Tis not in mortals to command success but we'll do more Sempronius--we'll deserve it. (Shakespeare)
- Those incapable of building seek to attract attention by tearing down. (Channing Pollock)
- The trouble with many of us is that we would rather be ruined by flattery and praise than saved by honest criticism. (Waite Phillips)
- One of the most surprising compensations of life is that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. (J. Pearson Webster)
- If we keep on going, the chances are we will stumble onto something but I never heard of anyone stumbling while sitting down. (Chas. F. Kettering)
- Regardless of ability, no one individual can accomplish and complete anything worthwhile without direct or indirect cooperation from others. (Waite Phillips)
- To hate is to hurt--not the hated but the hater. Fortunately I have learned by experience to reduce the hate factor to that of simple disapproval. (Waite Phillips)
- An ancient Persian proverb states, "The dogs bark but the caravan passes on." So does modern man when subjected to unjust or petty criticism. (Waite Phillips)
- It is provided in the essence of things that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary. (Walt Whitman)
- The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomings....who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. (Theodore Roosevelt)
And quoted in its entirety is this Rudyard Kipling poem, "If."
Artist Dawn Chandler does some amazing Philmont Boyscout Ranch paintings (see above). She's an alumni counselor of the Philmont Boyscout Ranch and I met her in one of Barbara Rockman's Santa Fe poetry workshops last year. Visit her website at: http://www.taosdawn.com/LandPhilmont01.html
Interesting note: I found out that girls can now join the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch summer treks through their co-ed Venturing programs. Although I'm skeptical of the recent decision by the Boy Scouts regarding gay counselors, I wish I would have had Adventuring programs when I was a kid. Girl Scouts never did anything too adventuresome and I dropped out after one year. Maybe they should have invented FagHag Scout Camp for me. I would have fit in well there, too: hiking treks by day, glitter crafts by firelight.