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August 12, 2008

I went on my first water run today.  The tap water isn’t drinkable on the reservation, so I literally have to fetch my water from a spring 6 miles from my house.  Okay, so I could just buy my drinking water from a store, but why purchase bottled water when I can retrieve my own spring water for free?

Among other “inconveniences” I’ll have to live with on the rez is having to pick up my mail from the post office, having to deal with a long, messy gravel driveway in the winter, and having to drive an hour and a half to do my shopping, including groceries. 

But I put “inconveniences” in parenthesis because I welcome these reminders of the greater difficulty with which most people live – those people not lucky enough to be in the tiny middle and upper classes of the world.  Nothing comes easily in life:  not the water in our pipes or the food on our plates or the homes over our heads.  Only those of us who can afford to pay for others to do the dirty work is life easy.  We may be able to hand over the dollars in exchange for immediate satisfaction, but somewhere along the line, someone is still laying down the pipes, hand-picking our fruits and vegetables, and laboring to erect our homes.

So this year, I’m going to “embrace the inconvenience,” as the Dean of the Graduate School at UMass liked to say.  Hm, if only the dean had still been in his former position as an instructor in Regional Planning, I might have finished out the program…


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