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Shedding a new light on Tahoe City

How can a person get anything done around here? It’s just too beautiful.The big timber astounds me. The mountains, whose every contour, jig and jag, gully and outcrop has become so familiar, purposefully stop me in my tracks, reminding me to silence myself and reverence my short visit to this temporary home at the top of the world. The towering blue sky hovers over us as solid and unreachable as the treetops. Lake Tahoe stretches out across the day like a bed of silk, smooth and tender as a mother’s lullaby, deep with hidden passion and secrets of days gone by. Be still and wonder, like a child.The Tahoe Basin recreates itself each morning with a new sun, firing up for us a brilliant and monumental world to walk in after waking from unbelievable dreams of flying, deep slumber or restless, ordinary worries. How can anyone even think of going to work? But work we must, and summer will mobilize the masses any day now. The molten flow of humanity will explode, it will creep along the highways like a furnace, hungry for paradise, craving thrills along the trails, leaving a mad rush of colliding wakes, a never ending search in all directions upon the lake. Will we find what we are looking for?Instead of a mean, ugly troll jumping up in front of you from under Fanny Bridge, threatening to eat you, your car and your family if you don’t pay to cross, Fanny Bridge has a new stop light that turns red for absolutely no reason whatsoever and makes you stop your car for nobody, nothing, no how, no way, whatever, can I go now? NO! At first I thought it was a bad idea for a good cause, one of those proverbial good intentions helping to pave the road to hell. I thought it was a bonehead bureaucratic, congestion causing, idiotic illumination clumsily created, inadvertently making matters worse and depriving us of our freedom and proving once and for all that Bush lied, Oswald did not act alone, Jimmy Hoffas body is in fact at the bottom of Lake Tahoe and nobody with any real shutzpah is in charge. At first glance it seemed by far the dumbest thing I had ever seen in my whole life. In my stubborn stupidity, and being a bit of a fanatic about freedom of movement, I found it hard to imagine that, under these new circumstances, government of the people, by the people and for the people was anything other than faded scribbles of ink on a decomposing piece of parchment paper in a museum preserving the worthless ideals of a bygone age, and our local leaders didn’t have a copy. That may be true in some aspects of American society, but in Placer County things are different. Somebody said, Git ‘er done, and the right thing done got done. Yes, like most humans too easily traumatized by change, I was wrong. I have come to realize that the new traffic light at Fanny Bridge is right on. Anything that makes cars slow down, stop, and get the driver to focus on what is actually going on outside the vehicle, even if for no apparent reason, is a good thing, especially at that busy location.Hopefully not too many cars or pedestrians will end up in the river when the light suddenly turns red the moment all the planets are perfectly aligned for Ooops! Just go with the flow. A slow flow is the way to go. The only thing flowing freely all summer may be the river, and that is as it should be.Be prepared. The light will turn red for no reason at all, other than to impose order on an otherwise much too rambunctious driving public. There may be no pedestrian, squirrel or bird within several hundred yards attempting to cross the street, but that light is going to turn as red as a corrupt Irish cop on a drinking binge. Stop, and enjoy your summer.Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, experienced ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years.


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