Land Lovers

Logan and Shawn Taylor

While resting on the side of the road, a young man approached us. He said, “My Dad was driving by and saw you and called me to say it looked like there were some protesters walking along. I am working for the local paper and thought I would find out what you are doing. Are you protesting?” Turns out it was his first week on the paper and we were his first “scoop.” We ended up interviewing him and learned his father and grandpa were cattle ranchers. When we asked if he thought his Dad would let us camp on his land he replied, “I think my Dad would like that!” We had some good chuckles, imagining his Dad saying something like, “Son, you can’t bring home everyone you write about!!” So we ended up staying on their land and had a most wonderful visit. Logan’s Dad, Shawn, was great and his grandpa, Bruce, totally adorable. They seemed delighted to have us as guests and a certain cathartic relief in being able to speak openly and frankly about their love of the land and their concerns about the encroaching oil industry. Defying my own cowboy stereotyping, Shawn and Logan’s “bachelor pad” was exploding with books on Amazonian shamanism, environmentalism, adventure travel, and ethnography by authors such as Wade Davis, John Perkins, Alberto Villodo and others.

Lina with Grandpa and Grandma Taylor

Lina with Grandpa and Grandma Taylor

Grandpa Bruce informed us that he gets up at 5am every morning, not to tend the cattle, but to practice yoga! In the morning, I followed Shawn down to the corral to watch his artificial insemination operation which was fascinating. After a long discussion about the state of the planet and the ecological crisis we are all facing, we asked, “What do you see as the answer?” He laughed and replied, “Oh I have no idea!!? That’s way too big a question for me!!!” Then he paused thoughtfully and said, “Well, learn to be happy with less I guess.” So humble and so real.

Before we hit the road, Logan wanted to show us what was happening down the road. They had been talking about the “new construction” and their concerns over the oil industry expansion that appears to be exploding out of control. On an intersection between beautiful pastures and farm fields bursting with yellow rape seed (canola), was the beginnings of a giant industrial project — a future train terminal for moving oil. We learned that with or without the Keystone XL Pipeline, there will continue to be lots of ways to transport the oil.

Train Terminal Construction Site

Train Terminal Construction Site