Grasshopper Soup: Parks are for the people

Bob Sweigert
Grasshopper Soup

The summer solstice culminated in a cosmic gathering of locals on Commons Beach in Tahoe City last Sunday that far surpassed the spectacular grandeur of the high Sierra lakeside location itself.

We are all extremely fortunate to have each other, and such a beautiful venue to share. Live music, food, spirits and hoards of Hula-Hoopers, both young and old (mostly young), kicked off the first of the summer series of Sunday Music on the Beach.

Anybody who was anybody was there, and everybody had a great time. The individuals and organizations who worked so hard to bring us together to share the sun, the music and the love deserve the utmost thanks, and congratulations, for a great season opener. It is for happenings like these that Commons Beach was established for the people.

The Hoola-Hoop Girls deserve a special mention. They rocked! Their energy and skills of skeletal gyration were a testimony to healthy mountain living. Some of them had to be as young as 7 and 8, but youth did not deter their enthusiasm or skill.

At times there were as many as 15 or 20 girls in front of the stage hurling their hoops around their tireless muscles. Some of them worked it for hours. A few even hooked that hoop and flung it in powerful orbit around their necks, for at least a few rotations anyway. That’s a lot of force on a very vulnerable part of the anatomy. You could tell by the look in their eyes they were thinking twice about doing much more of that.

The boy hoopers were vastly outnumbered by the girls. I only saw three boys. Better luck next time guys. The girls really showed up and simply out did you.

The hoola hoop music was provided by four bands and#8212; Neva, the Truckee Tribe, Subject to Change and the Montana Slim String Band. They were all high energy and sounded great. I missed Montana Slim, but one of the band members spotted me in the crowd and sent the cutest little kid over to me with a ten dollar CD. I couldn’t say no. I listened to the CD later and regretted missing their live performance. Good music!

The event coincided perfectly with Father’s Day. A little curly haired blonde boy, probably not even 6 yet, was walking backwards pulling a little wagon loaded with heavy picnic cargo, doing his mighty best to help dad, who was pushing, or pretending to push, just so the little tot would think he was doing it all by himself. And I think he was. Dad wasn’t even flexing his muscles or breaking a sweat. That was one very strong and helpful little boy, and one very wise dad. I’m sure they both slept well that night.

California is blessed with a wide array of beautiful parks and scenic vistas. Many of them, including most of the parks in our area, are threatened with closure because of California’s financial woes. God forbid that should ever happen anywhere.

How can you close what belongs to the people? How can you close the most beautiful places on earth? Even if there is no staff to administer the parks, we, as earth born humans, by virtue of our God given, unalienable rights, remain free to access them.

It is a complex issue. Unfortunately there are those who, if left unsupervised, would trash the parks and possibly make them unsafe. Should we all be punished for the harm others may or may not do? The fact remains, we belong to the earth. To decree any part of it off limits to any of God’s creatures defies common sense, and, quite possibly, the Constitution of the United States of America.

Remove all the concessions from Yosemite, cancel the garbage pick ups at Point Reyes, lay off all the rangers, but don’t ban the people. It is our world. It is our earth. We have a right to be here. We will find a way to enjoy it and protect it.

See you at Commons Beach this Sunday. It’s free!

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