Proper tool for the application???

In the Wonderland of Glaciers

  • December 01, 2015
  • Posted by Calysta Santacroce

Various aspects of my season with MCC have evoked in me an affinity with Alice in Wonderland.

One such project took place in Glacier National Park and consisted of maintaining fencing along the border of the park and the Blackfeet Reservation with the intention of keeping the livestock (which roam free on the reservation) out of the National Park. All of the cattle we saw during our two weeks of fencing, however, were on the opposite side of the fence than intended. Furthermore we learned that a recent agreement between the park and the Blackfeet determined that no length of fence should be added, only that the currently existing fence may remain. The barely three mile segment that we worked on was but a fraction of the border of the two areas, leaving much land passable for the cattle. Our project partner explained to us the constantly changing agreements between the two governing bodies of the land and how this interacts counter-productively with the allotment of grant money to specific projects.

Although our work was not completely ineffectual, and while I feel blessed to have learned how to fence in Glacier, I couldn’t help but feel like Alice as she tried to participate in a game of croquet with hedgehogs for balls, flamingos for mallets and deck card soldiers as arches. In the simplest of terms, a barbed wire fence that must be constantly maintained on terrain such as bogs and unsightly inclines was much like Alice’s less than ideal playing tools. The changing terms trying to coordinate with grants reminds me of the chaos of the Queen’s court taking turns at random, with no real intention to win.

Lastly, just as the Cheshire Cat appears in the sky giving Alice hope, I hope that one day, myself, or my fellow MCCers, may materialize themselves into a position of influence for potential improvements in grant appropriation for more compelling work in the beautiful Wonderland of Glaciers.

`Their heads are gone, if it please your Majesty!’ the soldiers shouted in reply.

`That’s right!’ shouted the Queen. `Can you play croquet?’

The soldiers were silent, and looked at Alice, as the question was evidently meant for her.

`Yes!’ shouted Alice.

`Come on, then!’ roared the Queen, and Alice joined the procession, wondering very much what would happen next.

`It’s—it’s a very fine day!’ said a timid voice at her side. She was walking by the White Rabbit, who was peeping anxiously into her face.

`Very,’ said Alice: `—where’s the Duchess?’

`Hush! Hush!’ said the Rabbit in a low, hurried tone. He looked anxiously over his shoulder as he spoke, and then raised himself upon tiptoe, put his mouth close to her ear, and whispered `She’s under sentence of execution.’

`What for?’ said Alice.

`Did you say “What a pity!”?’ the Rabbit asked.

`No, I didn’t,’ said Alice: `I don’t think it’s at all a pity. I said “What for?”

`She boxed the Queen’s ears—’ the Rabbit began. Alice gave a little scream of laughter. `Oh, hush!’ the Rabbit whispered in a frightened tone. `The Queen will hear you! You see, she came rather late, and the Queen said—’

`Get to your places!’ shouted the Queen in a voice of thunder, and people began running about in all directions, tumbling up against each other; however, they got settled down in a minute or two, and the game began. Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingoes, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.

The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: she succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it WOULD twist itself round and look up in her face, with such a puzzled expression that she could not help bursting out laughing: and when she had got its head down, and was going to begin again, it was very provoking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself, and was in the act of crawling away: besides all this, there was generally a ridge or furrow in the way wherever she wanted to send the hedgehog to, and, as the doubled-up soldiers were always getting up and walking off to other parts of the ground, Alice soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game indeed.

The players all played at once without waiting for turns, quarrelling all the while, and fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting `Off with his head!’ or `Off with her head!’ about once in a minute.
Alice began to feel very uneasy: to be sure, she had not as yet had any dispute with the Queen, but she knew that it might happen any minute, `and then,’ thought she, `what would become of me? They’re dreadfully fond of beheading people here; the great wonder is, that there’s any one left alive!’

She was looking about for some way of escape, and wondering whether she could get away without being seen, when she noticed a curious appearance in the air: it puzzled her very much at first, but, after watching it a minute or two, she made it out to be a grin, and she said to herself `It’s the Cheshire Cat: now I shall have somebody to talk to.’

Carroll, Lewis. “Chapter VIII.” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: :The Queen’s Croquet-Ground.


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