Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on November 23, 2014

Still on a house-cleaning binge, not vacuuming or dusting stuff, but going through closets and closets, getting rid of the old stuff. I can't believe how many shoes I have, although most of them are just old pairs thrown in the back of the closet and, over twenty or so years they accumulate. I guess when shoes get old I just can't say goodbye and still think I might be able to used them again for something like, hmmm, river-walking. But how many times have I done that? I do remember walking up Mitchell Creek, which is about two blocks from my house, a couple of hot summers, but that does not justify all these shoes. It is embarrassing!

I don't have a shoe fetish, but my feet are just fussy about what I can put on them, because they are sensitive, and don't like to be fenced in. I wear sandals most of the time, three seasons of the year, and, believe it or not, in winter I just wear socks around the house. My body temperature always runs warm, while Margaret runs cool. We are a good combination. She tells me she puts her feet over near me winter nights in bed because I am like a little heater.

I believe I might have some sub-text idea that shoes restrict my creativity or something. Anyway, right now I have a huge trash bag full of old shoes to get rid of and two boxes full of usable shoes for Good Will. And I still have too many shoes. Enough about this. More than you want to know.

In the early evening we had a surprise visitor, young Zachary Ray, the son of my good friend Forest Ray. By young, I mean in his earlier 30s. Zach has flown into Michigan for the weekend to visit some land he is buying up north a bit from where we live. And what stories he has to tell.

He is living and working in Williston, ND, said to be (just now) America's biggest boomtown, do to hydro-fracking in the tar-sands out there, where they are pulling out something north of 80,000 barrels of oil a day. Williston, a town of maybe 8,000 people has boomed to over 60,000 people all trying to eat, live, and sleep where there are not enough beds. The stories are outrageous.

Hotels pop up made of prefabs piled one on top of another and side by side, with a fake hotel-face plastered on the front. To hear Zack talk about it, this the heart of the American Wild West reanimated, and dripping with money. Every day brings hordes of people into town by bus and train without a dollar in their pocket, hoping to make it rich and they can and do. They are still hiring.

And not just Americans, but job seekers from all over the world. For example, there are scores of Africans from Gambia and places like that, people from all over. Mostly men, but women too. They work hard and fill the saloons and strip clubs at night. Many guys have left their families and sleep in hole-in-the-walls, sending their pay back home, what they don't drink up.

The police can do little to nothing to control the town, so it is just kind of out-of-control and dangerous at that. According to Zack, as mentioned, this is the Wild West all over again, circa 2014 -- people walking around with fists full of cash. I must confess, the stories are fascinating, especially since I love the tales of the Old West.

Meanwhile, Zachary is working at a Tractor Supply Co. as a freight manager, putting together a grubstake to move back to his home state of Michigan, where he is buying land and starting his own business raising organic specialty mushroom and tending bees. Zach is already raising mushrooms in his place in Williston and selling them, if I understood him right. He is growing various strains of mushrooms, including yellow and pink oysters, Brazillians, and so on.

It was good for me to see a young person who reminds me of myself, someone who has a vision and knows just exactly what he wants to do and is dead-set on doing it. Anyway, we talked past my bedtime. Zach is also a camera buff like myself, and has kind of found himself doing remarkable things with photo-chemicals and the old film cameras, while still learning digital. It was fun.

So that was my Saturday, and now it is the wee hours of Sunday. Good morning everyone!

[Photo by Zachary Ray of one of his "shrooms."]