Walking through Pike Place Market in Seattle, I hear the vendors shout prices and patrons shout questions. The place is full of energy and vibrancy, as if no one inside knows we’re still in recession. Pungeant fish go flying through the air against a backdrop of what seems acres of flowers. The pricing reports, in the chaos of Saturday, represent the culture and commodities of the region, just as the cattle price per head in Montana, and the oil price per barrel in North Dakota and the wine price per bottle in Mendocino county reflect what’s important to those ranchers and roughnecks and vintnors. The border wait times in San Diego and the traffic reports in Chicago direct business. The snowfall reports at Sierra Blanca excite the skiers. And the “baby bump” contest in largely Mormon Rexbourg Idaho illustrates the values of the town.
Life, in its day to day, toils no matter the county. We occupy our minds with those things that are our occupation. And while the copper miner in Bisbee has little in common with the lobsterman of Maine, in their labor they are equal. Their loss pains the same and their worries carry equal weight. Only in looking from the outside of each of those can the similarity be seen. Inside our own struggle, our own day, we see only our own sweat. From afar, we all carry the same sheen. We wipe the same furrowed brow and on that handkerchief, the salt is always white.
Robin Behl, La Cuentista