Tag Archive: budget

Ascending From the Depths

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.

It’s the life in [all] your years.”

Abraham Lincoln

The same could be said of our time here in the Legislature. What really matters is not how many long days we’ve spent here in Carson City but what we’re going to do in the short time we have left.

Big decisions await us all in the final weeks. With very few days left between now and June 2nd, it’s time for thinking caps to be donned and determinations to be made.

Every session it comes down to the same inevitable questions that every Legislature and every legislator must answer:  How will we vote on the final budget, and what revenues will we agree to raise in order to fund it?

Before we make that biggest of all legislative decisions, we have one last weekend during which to contemplate our course of action. Given that Memorial Day and Sine Die are right around the corner, it would be wise to remember those who have gone before us. Past Nevada lawmakers were faced with many of the same decisions that are staring at us there in the mirror of legislative conscience.

In the few hours you can carve out alone this weekend, you may want to take a quiet journey into the canyons and crevices of your mind, much as I did when trekking back and forth across the Grand Canyon at the ripe old age of 19.

Again, from Tahoe Boy on a Friday…

“The ski season at Snowbird came to an end with sunshine, corn snow and an illegal plunge into the guest swimming pool where I was bellman at night and a helicopter ski guide by day. Once the snows melted, kids returned to their homes in the Midwest. My Mormon friend Mark Goodman and I headed for the Grand Canyon in his 1968 foam-insulated yellow convertible Volkswagen van (that later became mine). Our goal was to get to the South Rim of the Canyon before the tourists did. Stuffing all the dried foods we could fit into our backpacks, we hiked down the dusty switchbacks carved by decades of wear from bands of Indians, grizzled prospectors on burrows and teenage thrill-seekers like ourselves.

Crossing the immense gorge cut by the Colorado River, we encountered marvels of the human variety that complemented nature’s ‘grand’ ones. There was the 48-year-old machine tool salesman from Chicago who was determined to hike across the Canyon before he died. Given his weight and how exhausted he appeared, I’m not sure he got his wish. We met an elderly couple who were counting every step it took to walk from one rim of the Canyon to the other. They wouldn’t say why they were counting. That secret was reserved for tales to their grandchildren.

One evening after a dinner of freeze-dried beef Stroganoff, I sat and watched a thunderstorm gather over the North Rim of the Canyon. Before long, a lightning strike triggered a blaze on a far-off patch of forest pasted to a craggy cliff. A weather system away, the fire was no more than a passing fancy in the splendid scheme that is Nature. Against the panorama of the ‘grandest’ of America’s canyons, that isolated weather incident helped me put certain matters in my own personal life in perspective.

Like flying an airplane over a small town at 10,000 feet, there’s an order and a peace not seen from the streets below. Likewise, before me a fire burnt out of control in one small corner of the globe. Even so, it failed to disturb the tranquility of the whole. In that fleeting moment, my travails with The Draft and America’s role in Viet Nam seemed small in comparison. Feeling like a winning ticket holder on the prize of planet earth, qualms about my future dissipated with the rains.

A momentary realization of life in its fullest flirted with me on that dark night in the Canyon. But like all teases, only the memory remained after the brush with beauty was gone. Still, if that ‘bigger picture’ can ever really be found, the Grand Canyon is a good place to go looking for it.”

The 78th Session of the Nevada Legislature has provided each of us our own paths, gullies and valleys to traverse. If we choose to do so, we can each emerge from the depths of this session with the satisfaction that we’ve made our state a better place.

Let us do as Lincoln did and rise to the occasion of Nevada’s cause in the 12 days we have left.