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Notes from a Western Life
Ranging Far and Wide on the High Plains and Beyond
Linda M. Hasselstrom's Blog

Cool Water Hula

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I urge everyone to visit this site; the Cool Water Hula exemplifies my favorite kind of political action about difficult topics: it’s filled with good will, humor, and beauty. The Cool Water Hula originated in 2000 to call attention to the biggest superfund site, the Berkeley Pit, filled with contaminated water from one of the nation’s many bouts of energy-related greed. The Cool Water Hula, as our friend Kristi Hager explains, tells a new story.

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Background:
The Berkeley Pit was once part of a huge open pit copper mine near Butte, Montana. When mining shut down in 1982 the pit was allowed to fill with water (groundwater and surface runoff). The water is toxic from leaching through the mined area. In the fall of 1995 a large flock of migrating snow geese landed on the contaminated water of the Berkeley Pit. 342 died.

Butte artist Kristi Hager combined the Hawaiian sacred hula dance with the song "Cool Water" made famous by Sons of the Pioneers (you know the song-- "All day I face the barren waste without the taste of water, cool water . . .”). In July, 2000, and again in July, 2010, she gathered a group of people on the rim of the pit, all wearing white shirts and water-blue fabric sarongs, to sing and dance the Cool Water Hula.

"It's a prayer -- to teach us to care for water," Hager told Marga Lincoln, writer for the Ravalli Republic newspaper in June, 2010.

For more information:
Cool Water Hula blog with YouTube video demonstration
June, 2010 article on the Ravalli Republic website

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The Power of Daily Writing

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Chris Valentine (who had the essay “Down Gravel Roads” published in the anthology Crazy Woman Creek, of which I am an editor) just sent me her calender of writing prompts, The Power of Daily Writing. Her practical answer to the wail, “I just don’t have TIME to write!” suggests that you can find ten minutes a day, and that if you write for only ten minutes every day for a year, you will have written a great deal.

I’ve seen a lot of writing suggestions, but Chris presents ones I’ve never considered-- write about vines; make a list of what you can smell; your first vacation; Washington DC. I’m not giving any more of these away. The calender is at Homestead House, so take a look if you come for a retreat, or you can order your own.

And here's another idea for keeping the writing flowing. Amy Kirk, a rancher and writer from Pringle, South Dakota, has set herself a blog topic for each day of the week. Here's her list:

Monday: anything and everything about her writing life
Tuesday: about family, traditions, etc.
Wednesday: oddball stuff about herself
Thursday: stuff about rural life, ranch life, SD, the Black Hills, Pringle, and the surrounding area
Friday: a recap of their week, or wrecks if they have any with cows, equipment, and such
Saturday: informative or related resources about agriculture, farming/ranching, & the beef industry
Sunday: a surprise/whatever she wants to talk about

As I have repeatedly said, if you write every single day-- no matter what you write-- you will be a better writer at the end of the year than you are at the beginning.

Now go boot up that computer or grab your pen and paper and start writing.

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For more information:
Amy Kirk's blog called Ranch Wife's Slant

To order the calendar The Power of Daily Writing
Send $13.50 (which includes postage) for each copy you want, to:
Christine Valentine
Box 547
Birney MT 59012

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