Facing Fear on the Chatooga

first_imgI steady Tobin, my toddler, between my knees and stand up in the 18’ foot aluminum canoe to search for a chute down the rocky jumble, but still I only see the Chattooga River disappearing over the horizon line. I paddle toward my marker rock, taking one last stroke to launch us off the ramp.“Wheee!” Tobin yells as we slide down the granite.At the bottom of the rapid I swell with success. Tobin looks up at me wide-eyed and says, “Mama, another rabid!”I’m brimming from the perfection of the moment, the sunlight reflecting off the water so that thousands of flecks of light dance from wave to wave. I let the canoe float in the flat pool and hug Tobin, knowing that his toddler days are passing. As a single mom, there are so many things I haven’t been able to give to my son—a dad he sees daily and a mom who isn’t stressed out living paycheck-to-paycheck. This canoe trip reminds me that I can pass along what I value most to my son, spending time on rivers.We are on the northern border of Georgia, paddling the same river made famous by the 1970’s thriller Deliverance, which portrays the Chattooga River as a foreboding place where locals don’t welcome outsiders. In the movie, when businessmen canoe down the river, they encounter grizzled mountain men who rape one at gunpoint, ordering him to “squeal like a pig.”As we drifted, my mind conjures images about who might live nearby, uneducated-locals-turned-meth-heads and rapists-in-the-woods—even as I told myself those are vile stereotypes that in no way reflect the real people of this region.That evening, I beach the canoe on a sandy bank, and search for a level spot to put up our tent. On the shore, broken glass litters the remnants of a recent fire. A broken camp chair sits next to the fire ring, and a pair of men’s underwear hangs from the arm rest. The campsite looks as if it might be someone’s place, and it occurs to me that we might not be alone. A prickly fear overcomes me, and I scoop up Tobin, hurrying back to our canoe.Chatooga3_FIX2I paddle fast downstream in search of another campsite and finally settle on one. Tobin helps unfold the tent poles. I make an easy dinner of canned Spaghettios and the last bit of trail mix for dessert. We put on our pajamas and climb into the tent.As soon as I zip up the tent, Tobin asks to go home. I tell him no, that we are camping for the night and will paddle out the next morning.“I want home.”“We aren’t going home. We’re spending the night here.’He cries and I rock him in my arms, tears flowing down my own face as I curse my decision for taking a two-year old on an overnight river trip alone. Between his sobbing, I hear a noise.“Shhhh. Quiet, my love,” I whisper. My thoughts turn to the rape scene in Deliverance. I think of all the wild mountain men who might be hiding out in the woods. It’s dark now, and we have no way out of here until the morning.Tobin identifies the source of the sounds before I can.“Frog!” he says.Bull frogs are serenading us. We sing back, imitating the bull frog’s call, and Tobin laughs. He laughs in little peals at first and then uncontrollably until his whole body heaves from giggling. His joy is contagious, and I start laughing too.The next morning we paddle out as sunlight pours through the pines. Blue herons sit on limbs above and startle as we approach, awkwardly loping to another perch downstream. I feel like I’ve entered into a secret dream world that exists on the Chattooga before all the tourists come out to float, before the sun casts its sharp rays directly overhead that turn the river a deep brown, before the herons disappear into the forests.At the takeout, a father and his teenage son are casting, thigh-deep in the water when we pull up to the riverbank. I am wary as I unload Tobin and the gear. I struggle with the boat, and the teenage son wanders over to me.“Do you need a hand?” he asks. He helps carry the canoe up the steep gravel and then hoists it on top of my car. As I start strapping it down, the boy disappears.I tie a bowline under the front bumper and add a stern line to secure the back. Just as I’m giving the straps a final tug to confirm they’ll hold for the three-hour drive back, the son and dad reappear carrying our camping gear up from the takeout.I am stunned by the kindness of these strangers—and my own stereotypes. All of my scary-men-in-the-woods-who-want-to-hurt-me fears fall away, leaving only embarrassment for falling victim to baseless fears. The father and son disappear down the wooded trail, and I remember the other half of the storyline in Deliverance: how locals helped outsiders who underestimated challenges posed by the river.last_img read more

CUNA joins trades to request full CDFI funding in FY18

first_img continue reading » CUNA joined with several financial trade organizations Tuesday to request that House and Senate appropriators fund the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund at $250 million for fiscal year 2018. The fund, which gives awards and other grants to certified CDFIs, is zeroed out in the administration’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget.“We strongly support the CDFI Fund as one of the Federal government’s best market-based strategies for leveraging private dollars to restore economic vitality,” the letter reads. “We urge you to continue to provide strong funding levels in FY 2018 and beyond, as well as ensure that it fulfills Congressional intent to build the entire sector for the benefit of low-income communities nationwide.”In addition to outlining the history and importance of the CDFI fund, and CDFIs in their communities, the letter offers proposed language for an amendment to appropriations legislation and recommended accompanying report language.The recommended statutory change is:Adding “and diverse applicants by institution type, which shall include all types of Insured Community Development Financial Institutions as defined by 12 USC 4702(c((13) and non-insured Community Development Financial Institutions in proportion to their representation by number in each application pool,” to the end of 12 USC 4706(b). 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Group calls for energy without coal

first_imgStudent organizations will participate in the Global Day of Action on Sunday as part of an effort to eliminate coal usage as the primary source of power and promote new methods of renewable energy, club representatives said.The Beyond Coal Campaign, which is part of the Sierra Club on campus, focuses on increasing visibility of efforts to find alternative uses of reusable energy to the university and greater Los Angeles area, said Rosalie Murphy, a freshman majoring in history and media coordinator for the campaign.“We get more power from coal, which is a major contributor to public health problems and global warming, than from any other power source at USC,” Murphy said.Other organizations in Los Angeles are also holding events to raise awareness for this cause. Several groups, including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, are joining together to host a gathering Downtown on Sunday.Los Angeles currently obtains about 39 percent of its overall power from coal plants, Murphy said. The Global Day of Action aims to raise awareness of how members of the community can erase this usage all together.“By the end of the semester, we hope to meet with President [C.L. Max] Nikias to get a serious commitment and set up an action plan for making USC a coal-free institution,” Murphy said. “As a private school, we have the resources to pursue that goal, and we can end up being a huge player in the city of L.A. in terms of renewable energy.”The Global Day of Action will give people an opportunity to be active against worldwide climate change, said David Caso, the assistant press secretary of the Sierra Club of Los Angeles.“We are urging leadership to advocate getting out of the coal plants. Students at USC have the power to combat our dependency upon them,” Caso said.Other U.S. universities, such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Ball State University, have already been successful in completely eradicating coal plants as their main source of power, Caso said.The Beyond Coal Campaign has been gathering signatures from students on campus to raise awareness and help it achieve its goals, Murphy said.So far, the campaign has obtained about 1,000 signatures and collected 100 photo petitions to submit to university officials, Murphy said. The organization is also hoping to host a panel of clean energy experts for an open discussion on campus sometime in late October or early November.Danielle Barrett, a junior majoring in political science, said she believes the campaign is helping push the university in a positive direction.“Any attempt to break away from our dependency on coal as a primary source of energy is admirable,” Barrett said. “We have to realize that the issue of clean energy is something that will have a major impact on our generation down the road.”The Global Day of Action in Los Angeles will kick off at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, with a rally on the South Lawn in front of City Hall, on First Avenue between Main and North Spring streets.“We want to plug into the city in a wider way than just within the walls of campus, and this event gives students the opportunity to do just that,” Murphy said.last_img read more