The Hundredth Meridian

Nothing Doing, Doing Nothing

Labor Day weekend honors those horny-handed men and brawny women who do the real work that gets done in America, hauling up to the pay office every two weeks in Cadillacs emblazoned with union decals to collect their fat two-week  paychecks (five days’ work, another five on sick leave).  A drone myself, I’m completely shameless about piggy-backing on the American working class’s great day, which I ordinarily honor by doing less useful work even than usual—better yet, no work at all, including flipping a hamburger or turning a hot dog on the outdoor grill.

Oh yes!” Don exclaimed from beside me, as we gazed together across a series of parallel sandstone canyons separated by hogback ridges grown over with piñon and juniper trees and draining southeast toward Vermilion Creek, obscured from view by towers of sand and rock.  “This is my kind of country—absolutely!”

Nine hundred and ninety-nine people out of a thousand—perhaps more—would have seen nothing in this arid, broken patch of extreme northwestern Colorado but featureless and (in the flat light) colorless desert, as unappetizing to the soul as it was uninteresting to the eye.  Don Eason, though, is one in a million: He could even think of something to do with all this terrible-looking country.

“I’m guessing Vermilion is just beyond...

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