|The Dragon and the Ice Castle
Rediscovery of Sacred Space in the Finger Lakes
Part One: Chapter Twenty Six
Friday, March 11, 1988
I saw the bold headline through the window in my front door.
Joe Parson's bright, cheery face beamed at me as he held an evening newspaper up to the glass. I returned his smile and reached for the doorknob. Stepping inside, he handed me the newspaper, saying, "Hello, kind sir. I'm honored to be here with a famous Syracusan." Joe was like a burst of sunshine through my door.
I took the paper as Joe took off his shoes. I felt somber and heavy beside Joe's pleasant ebullience. Will I ever learn to let go and be happy just to be? Looking down, I saw in the upper left on the front page was a preview box announcing: .
DAVID VS. GOLIATH
Healer wages a quiet battle
of $150-million mall
Already a Biblical reference to color my image in spiritual hues. One giant step towards kookdom. A nervous blush rushed through me in dread anticipation of what lay inside.
While Joe removed his winter coat, suit coat and tie, I flipped the paper open to the Lifestyle section. My heart almost shuddered to a halt when I saw an 8xl0 photo of my face staring from the front page. I was holding two dowsing rods in gloved hands, scarf wrapped thickly around my neck. My eyes and brow were contracted in a piercing squint beneath the overhang of my cap which proclaimed: "Miller High Life".
"Such an image of intensity!" I thought. "But not my best face. Why can't I be smiling? But how much have I smiled through this ordeal? My face is so thin! It looks like my face is caving in." I felt weak as my blush deepened to flush, and I almost sat down on the steps, but I stood my ground and turned the folded page over to reveal its lower half. Bold letters stated:
Healer wages quiet battle against mall
That was, after all, the public title I'd chosen last November: Healer. After years of calling myself community organizer and health educator, I decided it was time to announce my secret identity. Not that I felt ready to fulfill the role.
Now here it was reflected back to me in giant picture and bold letters. Being a healer is a dilemma. First, it sounds pretentious. Second, healer has no legal definition as a profession, such as doctor, dentist or psychiatrist, Third, in a society where most people look for someone to fix them and rid them of their sickness, a healer can be a target of unrealistic expectations. It has darker associations, such as quack. I felt vulnerable and naked to have such a public label.
The caption below my ink dot image said,
While he is now absorbed in a controversy over the proposed Carousel Center, David Yarrow says he would prefer to spend his time healing, teaching and dowsing for water, which he demonstrates here.
Below this was a second photo, an aerial showing Oil City looking south toward downtown from Marley's. The round white tanks in a landscape of light gray gravel looked neat and clean. Far in the distance, behind the towers of downtown, was the dark outline of The Big Hill. 'To bad a photo doesn't convey odors and sounds," I mused. "And there's no trees in Oil City."
Armed with only a dowsing rod and acute spiritual sensitivity, David Yarrow searched Jan. 24 for a lost Onondaga Indian fishing village on tire south shore of Onondaga Lake, near Oil City.
He sensed a strong channel, the power of the Earth. He knew sacred ground must be nearby. But on that day it eluded him. Before he kft, though, he made a mental note of tire strange pools of stagnant water, and to odd landscape of the area.
I dropped the page, too nervous to go on. Agitation surged inside, my thoughts churned, shattering my concentration. The first paragraphs and already I seem an oddball.
Joe watched my face, gauging my reaction. "Why don't you read the article while I get ready," he said. "I'll lie down a few minutes and unwind while you assess your new public image."
Then he bounded upstairs, leaving me to face myself alone. Bringing the page back to eye level, I read on.....
He returned a week later, with several dowsing friends. But this time, he wasn't looking for the village. He was looking for something he hoped was not there. He's afraid it is.
On the periphery of the site where Pyramid Cos. plan to build tire $150 million Carousel Center, Yarrow came upon several irregular mounds. Without breaking tire soil, he sensed five antiquated transformers, insulated by carcinogenic PCBs, lay as shallow as six feet underground, ripe to be disturbed, and capable of contaminating the lake.
I smiled, "What luscious imagery. The guy can write. He paints with words. And he goes right after the transformers. Thanks, Bill. This is a long article. How does he paint me?"
"If Pyramid wants to build a mall on top of what I've found, they'll be building on top of a bomb that's going to blow up in their face," says Yarrow.
My face flushed at the intensity of this quote. It seemed I was overstating the situation. But then, what about the oil and gas? And what about the genetic effect of gallons of PCB's? Yes, Marley's is a bomb. And Pyramid's rushing onto the trigger.
Yarrow's harsh rhetoric doesn't match his stature. The 36 year old healer, dowser, agitator and former lobbyist for agricultural reform is slight and smallish, with sunken cheeks and narrow shoulders. He doesn't seem the type who looks for a fight. And the prospect of Yarrow against Pyramid makes David versus Goliath seem like an even match.
My mind rolled over groaning, "Oh, great! The wimp rides again. The flea on the elephant. The mosquito on the dragon."
Patrick Mannion, a partner at Pyramid, considers Yarrow "sincere" and "very committed," but he isn't ready to scrap the multimillion dollar Oil City project after Yarrow's discovery. "I don't think he's convinced us to the point that, in the middle of winter, we're going to follow him around the site," he says.
Bruce Kenan, also a partner at Pyramid, has agreed to visit the site with Yarrow in the spring, but he doubts they'll dig any further. "We've punctured the ground a number of times, and we've found nothing. The guy's very sincere; I don't think he has a hidden agenda. But there is no basis to believe (Yarrow's suspicions) are valid. "
My thoughts boiled, ''Yes, aren't we all sincere. Sincerely wrong, they no doubt sincerely believe. And so, therefore, must I. Spring will be here soon, Bruce Kenan. Sincerely."
After all, Yarrow divined the transformers by, well, picking up their vibes. And he admits, "I got my information through a very unusual method." But Yarrow isn't backing down, either. Sure, he'd rather spend his days dowsing for the lost village, giving massages, or teaching cooking classes. But David Yarrow is a healer, and healing is his duty.
"My concern is to prevent harm to anyone. The danger to all of us has to be removed. I will exhaust myself to get it done," he says, more a promise to himself than a response to question.
I thought, "Uh oh, this is getting very personal. It isn't about transformers and PCBs, or dowsing. It's about me. Will I be portrayed as fanatic? Or glory hound? Or kamakazi martyr?"
He has spent countless unpaid hours pounding the corridors of the statehouse in Albany, lobbying for agricultural reform. He's responsible for starting numerous organizations, including the Natural Organic Farmers Association and the Syracuse Center for Self Healing. He hopes to create a local chapter of the American Society for Dowsers. And though Yarrow's current business card mentions macrobiotic diets, self help, and acupressure, healing is his vocation.
His dowsing—detecting magnetic fluctuations through a rod, a common means of seeking well water—is only a sideline.
"People say, 'By whose authority are you healing? If I don't say medicine or God, then they scheme against me," he says.
My mind jumped, "#7 on the Kook Scale. I sound paranoid."
For the sake of official documents, he concedes that 'holistic health counselor' is the niche he fits into best. "But I don't practice medicine or anything like that. I give guidance to people." Yarrow says he's had several successes. While cautious not to contradict modern medicine, he nonetheless credits himself with "teaching" several patients, through proper diet and holistic methods, to rid themselves of cancer.
I mused, "There's that foolish idea again: rid. Getting rid of cancer, getting rid of hazardous waste, getting rid of Oil City. Where is this place rid? How do we get there?"
Yarrow's success, according to Dr. Joel Potash, associate professor in the Dept of Family Practice at SUNY Health and Science Center, is not as outlandish as it may at first seem. "Cancers can go into remission. Whether it is due to a macrobiotic diet, good luck, or a different lifestyle, it can happen. Colleges would pooh-pooh that, but miracles happen."
I thought, "A macrobiotic diet isn't good luck. But meeting me is. The greatest miracle is Life itself, happening every day, every season, every year, every generation. Particularly given the daily assaults against the planet's life by the wheeled machines of Industrial Revolution. Our ignorance of Life makes it even more miraculous. Are we the flaw in God's plan?"
Potash sees nothing inherently wrong with holistic healing, as long as it doesn't HEALER,C3
The page ended. Opening to page 3, my eyes saw at the top:
David Yarrow: The healer vs. the shopping mall
Below, a dialog box said,
'I never made much money,
but I made a lot of bread."
David Yarrow on his bakery days
The text continued,
present itself as the exclusive means to a cure. And he understands Yarrow's followers. "It's like religious belief. If you believe and you want it to work, it can help you. "
Turbulence rippled my thoughts, "Food isn't belief, it's biological reality. Christ taught us to pray 'give us this day our daily bread', not steak, eggs, pizza, ice cream, or chemotherapy. Christ also said, 'Man does not live by bread alone.' He was speaking about 'faith', not 'belief.' Whether we believe or not, we have to eat everyday. But without faith, no one will follow a strict healing diet very long."
Yarrow is certainly a believer, and at least two elderly cancer patients believe he's a healer. Still, he can't heal as often as he'd like to. His other job, one he reluctantly accepts and which devours most of his time, is that of organizer.
For a brief time, Yarrow was an ex-organizer. As of Nov. 2, he withdrew his services. He moved into a house on the South Side, his first permanent home in nine years. Over were the dtlys of political organizing, lobbying and transience.
But then, on that fateful January Sunday on the lakefront, Yarrow realized he would have to delay his retirement. "My experience is, the more effective you are at handling responsibility, the more responsibility you're given," Yarrow says. "So now I'm getting responsibility for something very big. And I know I'm being guided by spiritual forces. "
A red alarm went off in my head, warning, "Watch that ego. Next you'll be talking to God. Then you'll truly be a nut."
These may be the same forces which have guided Yarrow for the past nine years—a time during which he was unemployed. "I try to avoid jobs. My job is to explore life, "he says. He smiles. "But] wish my boss would pay a higher salary."
I allowed myself a chuckle, "Higher salary for a spiritual man? What a subtle play on words. Did Bill intend that?"
Unemployed, however, does not mean out of work. Yarrow has nothing against work. It just seems most of his jobs don't offer any payment. After dropping out of Syracuse University the same year as the invasion of Cambodia—he describes the collegiate Yarrow as a "whiz kid computer nerd"—he traveled around America a la Jack Kerouac, spending much of his time in a ghost town in New Mexico.
He returned to Syracuse around 1975, and helped to start On The Rise Bakery—then known as Kasolo Bakery. The project brought some income, but not much. "I never made a lot of money, but I made a lot of bread."
After quitting the bakery, he started a community garden project on the corner of Comstock and Colvin avenues. From this project Yarrow also didn't make much money, but he did stay with it long enough to get a surname. Yarrow was a beautiful plant to him and the name David Moore just didn't fit his personality. Then he worked briefly for the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
The reporter had confused this sequence of events. I quit the college to start the bakery. The garden came at the same time. And I returned to Syracuse in 1971. Minor details.
This was the last paying job David Yarrow had before becoming a fulltime organizer. He recalls the day he headed an agricultural conference in 1979—the exact day of the Three Mile Island (nuclear) accident. He considers it an auspicious beginning to nearly a decade of working as a non-paid agitator, during which time he made regular trips to Albany to work on legislation for organic food systems.
I thought, "Agitator I'm not. Initiator, yes."
He fed himself—bare bones vegetarian concoctions and plenty of tofu—by performing massages and occasionally dowsing for wells. "I always hit water," he says proudly.
This went on for a while—he found time to start the Natural Organic Farmers Association, which he left a year later—until he realized he was wearing himself out for no pay.
More confused time. I put five years in NOFA, not one.
"I was tired of using my own time and money to pursue this. I was lobbying with all these bureaucrats and agency people and politicians and they were all getting paid to sit in on meetings. ] was sitting there eating brown rice and vegetables and paying my own way to suffer through all this agony," he says, pausing. "I was interested in being a service to life. Tough job."
Yarrow decided to drop the Albany scene around the time Cuomo came to office. But he found he couldn't keep still. His next creation was Wellspring: Syracuse Center for Self Healing, a holistic organization. After five years of that, Yarrow stepped down from its leadership, planning to channel his energies into understanding the Earth's energies.
"Stepped down?" I reacted. "More like driven out."
He was already a fulltime healer, he recalls, surveying the immaculate, if spartan, interior of his Hall Avenue home. He has no carpet—a sign on the door bids guests please remove their shoes—and no chairs. Eight oversize pillows—for guests to sit on—lay a pile next to his dining room table, which is but a door resting atop four buckets.
He's lived there less than three months. In a week the house goes on the market, and he must either buy it or move out. And now, the threat of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, looms over him. "At this point, I don't have any money. I've just spent 3 weeks trying to stop one of the biggest development projects in Syracuse at a time when I was just starting my new life. I've retired from being an organizer. I was just going to live in my house and help people heal themselves. I got as far as printing my business card. Then I discover these canisters of PCBs on the shore of Onondaga Lake. Life hasn't been normal since."
I was relieved, ''Thank God! Back to the transformers. Please, Bill, more on PCBs, less on David Yarrow."
Despite the toll this latest project has exacted from him, Yarrow vows to stick on with it until someone else can take over. He likens himself to a pit bull—an unlikely analogy in every respect outside of determination. But he made the promise not as Yarrow the Organizer, but Yarrow the Healer.
"Uh oh," I thought. "Creeping up on the Kook Scale again. Pit bull was Jean's analogy, not mine."
The same week he dowsed the transformers, Yarrow went to the dentist's office. By his own admission, he has terrible teeth.
"A pit bull with bad teeth! Some ferocious image!" I moaned.
While pondering the choice before him—abide by his decision to quit being Organizer, or follow his instincts as Healer—a young woman with two children entered the reception room.
One of the children, born with birth defects—a swollen skull, gnarled fingers, twisted facial features—left his mother's side and sat next to Yarrow. "I looked at him, I looked into his eyes—as I do any creature—and I tried to see his spirit. And I saw that this being was a happy person. I made him the promise I'd do whatever I could to see to it that more children wouldn't have to face the future that this child was facing. It was the most sober and serious commitment I've ever made in my life."
Yarrow puts down the wooden spoon he's been using to eat his rice. He closes his eyes and inhales deeply. "I believe the creator put this experience in my path so I would understand more clearly what was at stake here."
I was torn in two. My mind analyzed that last image. The reporter failed to mention that PCBs are mutagenic, and cause birth defects. And he got the details of my story slightly wrong, but essentially correct. But what an image to end with!
At the same time my gut and heart convulsed as I forced back tears. The article skirted the edge of portraying me as an oddball weirdo, and in the end revealed me as compassionate and intense, if unusual. Could I ask for a better presentation? Could I stand to be shown as sensitive and idealistic in a culture which exalts macho? Folding the paper I climbed the steps to my appointments room when Joe lay waiting.
"Well, kind sir, did the paper treat you well?" he inquired.
''Yes, well enough," I said as I began his acupressure. "I seem like a serious, intelligent guy doing a courageous thing. Even if I'm wrong, I look good. Eccentric, yes. But crazy, no."
''You must be relieved," Joe said. ''The paper has come out on your side. Now you have some clout behind you."
"It's great to recieve such positive publicity. But it would be better to know those transformers are going to be removed."
''Yes, but this is sure to help. Now lots of people know, and Pyramid will have to be more careful. The cat's out of the bag."
"In the article Pyramid plays it real cool. The situation isn't polarized, despite the 'me vs. them' image in the headlines. My strategy has been not to oppose Pyramid, and to tell the truth to whoever will listen. My danger is to keep a secret and be trapped in intrigue. Besides, I really believe I was put here to help Robert Congel realize his vision."
Joe chuckled, "You sure have them guessing on that—helping by holding them up. Now this negative publicity about the site."
"I worry this will get me investigated. I'm vulnerable for practicing medicine without a license. Even to defend myself against charges would consume what little energy I have. But it's a risk I accepted when I decided to tell people I'm a healer."
''You're safe, aren't you? You've always been careful."
''Yes, but I made mistakes. Not my recommendations—no one is hurt eating grains and vegetables. Everyone benefits from an improved diet. But at times I'm a poor communicator. An immense challenge faces anyone healing major illness, and I feel so inadequate to provide the support they need. Everyone I help is grateful for what I'm able to do, but some family members take a different attitude."
"But you really needn't worry," Joe said. "I doubt Bruce would attack you. It's not his style." I wished I felt as confident as Joe.
"He doesn't have to. Forcing me to the effort I've made in recent weeks has pushed me to the edge. I couldn't pay rent last month and don't have money yet for this month."
"Will you be OK?" Joe's voice expressed genuine concern.
"Yes, my landlord understands what I'm up against. I just began to get my life moving forward after New Year's, and then, boom, I found the transformers. Because of that, I've lost clients. For one, Don White, a client for eight years, cut me loose. I just haven't had the energy to do my usual work. I lost weight due to my teeth, and I've been consumed by this confrontation with Pyramid. And the Athletic Club's lockers are being painted and it has poor ventilation. By late afternoon I'm weak and spacy from breathing paint fumes. I'm almost ready to quit going there at all. It's an example of what might happen to Carousel Center because of fumes from under Marley's."
"Certainly you're better off seeing people here," Joe said. 'True, but I haven't time, energy or enthusiasm after dealing with Pyramid to attract new clients. I spend hours each week writing, talking to people and pounding pavement downtown."
Joe was sympathetic. ''There's a limit to how many people you can serve. Healing requires very personal attention. The intensive education and emotional support you provide means you can only deal with a few people at once. Now the paper's come out on your side, you can get back to your own work."
I shook my head. "I wish. But I'm going back to Marley's to take a sample. Probably this Sunday."
"Do you have to? Why be a martyr?" He was more annoyed at me for being foolhardy than concerned for .my safety.
"Who else is going to take a sample? Not the DEC. I wish I didn't have to, but it seems the only way to force a serious inquiry. Sometime soon I'll have to take a sample."
"You don't think this newspaper coverage is going to make a difference? Obviously the paper came out on your side."
"I wish. Pyramid hasn't answered any of my letters, press releases or phone calls. Bruce hasn't met with me as he promised. He says in the paper they plan no further digs. His offer to go there in the spring is just PR to placate the press. I'm angry to see a dangerous situation ignored. Marley's is too dangerous to ignore any information. They could at least let me talk to their engineers. Meanwhile DEC won't get involved."
''Pyramid is used to fighting off opposition. To them you are a troublesome gnat who can be ignored."
'They may have fought lawyers, developers, politicians, environmentalists, and housewives. But Pyramid has never confronted a dowser, healer and spiritual man. I believe I'm in their path due to a different power. Not civil power, but real spirit." I said this with conviction, aware how odd I sounded.
''But why? What will you gain? Aren't you just exhausting yourself in someone else's war?" Joe was upset.
"I'm convinced now there's more than a dispute about hazardous waste here. My growing belief is this is but a prelude to other more powerful events. Right now I can't tell what, but the signs point to something greater than a shopping mall."
"Aren't you reaching a bit here? I've known you a few years now, and our weekly conversations have taught me a lot about spirituality. But other people will think you've lost your reason."
I laughed softly, "No, I haven't lost my reason. I've gone beyond it. I'm now following my Intuition for guidance. Reason alone can't explain what is happening at Marley's. At this point I almost don't care if I'm right or wrong. My intuition says this has to be done for purposes which escape my reason."
"For one, it's a lesson for Pyramid and the half brained mind that creates Marley's, Oil City and worse. How can David Yarrow know all I do about Marley's? Not by ordinary means. Not because I'm clever. A remarkable string of coincidences has brought a lot to my awareness in a short time. Pyramid is being challenged to see there are other powers than human ambition and cleverness. I'm only a messenger. Turn over." I'd finished Joe's front and it was time to work on his back.
As he twisted on my table, I continued, "What I've really discovered isn't hazardous waste. My real find has been that the Finger Lakes have been a center for human culture for thousands of years, and there are traces of those ancient societies. The physical evidence of this includes the Indian mounds I've studied for five years. But it also includes history, legends and myths which are somehow written into the land itself. Sacred space used to be a concept for me, but now I'm really understand that the Earth is alive—a living organism. And there is something very special, very ancient and very sacred about this landscape in central NY."
"I don't understand all this yet. All I have are glimpses, but they now make a distinct and special kind of sense to me. The situation at Marley's is loaded with ominous signs and symbols of the forces which are gathered there. I've never seen such a collection of meaningful imagery and coincidence in one place. Something far more significant than a shopping mall is there. And nearly all the signs I've seen point to Onondaga Nation."
"Marley's is a very odd place—like another time or another space. I told you how it's a geomantic hole—some sort of umbilical passage into the Earth. And now the boys at Pyramid are about to ram their shopping mall into this odd place in their lust for money. My inner guidance says loudly, 'Do it! Push this historic process the next step.' God needs a human being to take the necessary action. I just know, whether I'm right or wrong about the transformers, this is the right thing to do."
"As one crowning example, my house I live in is in an unusual place. I told you it's sits at a strong vortex of Earth energies. On a hunch, I measured my maps last week to discover my house is halfway between the head and tail of the Onondaga Dragon. In yet another way, even in my home I'm in the middle of this whole situation. I don't know how I got here, but it all adds up to more than accident or coincidence. I just wish I knew where all this is going land me. But I can only follow my intuition and see where it leads. I feel like I'm stepping off an edge. Somehow."
I was silent a few moments, then said, "I have no power here. All I have is my awareness—my terrible awareness that there's something very dangerously wrong at Marley's. And it's more than PCBs. I have to take a sample. It's my only path forward. I have to force them to pay attention and do it right. Somehow."
I finished Joe's acupressure in silence as we both pondered our conversation. I left him to dress and busied myself in the kitchen. Minutes later he joined me to hand me money., then he gave me a slip of paper. Looking, I saw a check for $100.
He peered intently at me. "You're a most unusual man, David Yarrow. I wish I could help more, but I'm no Congel. Will you be OK?"
I returned his gaze with deep gratitude, and a trace of shame. ''Yes, somehow. Since Jan. 31 I've lived under a dark cloud of gloom—the mood of Marley's. I lived on the thin edge for years, though I thought those days were over. Last year when I left the Center, I insisted I needed a home and a companion. I believe I'm doing the right thing and God will provide for my needs. I never ask for much. I'm sorry to lean on you, but thanks."
Joe looked at me softly and said, "Do you have copies of your press releases and letters? I can get them to people downtown who will put pressure on Pyramid."
I gathered a set of press releases and letters. 'Thanks. I haven't asked my friends to get involved in this. I've taken this on myself, and I may be wrong. I've tried to confirm all the details. But if you can bring this to anyone's attention, it may help get an honest investigation. Thanks again."
We embraced for a long moment. I felt relief to lean on a friend for that brief instant, to feel his warm concern. Releasing Joe, I opened the door and we said goodbye.
Walking to the dining room, I sat down to study the paper more. It was then I found the second article on page one of the Metro Section by Dick Case, the feature writer. He'd come on Wednesday to interview me. His headline announced:
A 'spiritual man' dowses for clues
to block Pyramid's Carousel Mall
"Give it a ‘5’ on the Kook Scale," I thought. 'There I am again—an opponent trying to stop the mall. Why does everyone see this as a battle? Will we ever learn to be of One Mind, not two?"
I read: I went to see David Yarrow, the man who wrote he was "standing alone in the path of a $1.2 billion project." He lives in a brown and white house on the South Side of Syracuse.
The project is the scheme to rehabilitate Oil City. To be precise, we're talking about the Carousel Center mall that the Pyramid Cos. would like to build on the Marley's scrap yard at the southeast corner of Onondaga Lake.
David's a Syracuse native who calls himself a “spiritual man." His interests are many and deal more with what's inside the 38 year old shell he carries with him than the outside fixtures.
Years ago, when he was at Central Tech, he was considered a computer whiz. He though he was a nerd. He moved into higher education at Syracuse University for a while but left during the Vietnam War to deal first with civil rights in the South and then himself in New Mexico. That was when he sensed that our culture is at a dead end.
"I decided to follow a spiritual path," David explained after he sat us down on the couch in his living room and folded his legs under his hips. This path took him to natural healing, macrobiotics and acupuncture. He makes a living teaching and healing ("not cure, care," he explained) at the Syracuse Center for Self Healing. He founded the Natural Organic Farmers Association of New York and works with groups interested in sustainable food systems.
David is also a dowser. Dowsing is defined in his own booklet Dowsing: History and Techniques, as searching for sources of water or minerals by using a rod. It was David's dowsing that got him into the challenges he has had to deal with at the Carousel site. At the moment the place seems an unpromising bone yard. David thinks it’s a toxic swamp.
I mused, "A bone yard, indeed. There's more than toxic secrets buried there, Dick Case."
He said I got him interested in Ka-Ne-Ee-Da, an Onondaga fishing village that once sat on a knoll where the creek ran into the lake. He read the column I did about the archaeological inquiries at Marley's and he and a friend who is also a dowser drove out and had a feel around the landscape last Jan. 24.
David wanted me to know his friendship with Ed Eagan, a realtor who opposes Carousel Center, was just a coincidence here. Ed is aware of David's psychic studies of the site but is not cheering, or paying, him. "No one could pay me to stick my neck out as far as I have," David explained. "I'm just a little guy who believes people must be made aware of conditions there."
David and his pal dowsed an ancient village David believes was Ka-Ne-Ee-Da under 40 feet of Solvay waste and fill. The ruin, according to him, is directly below where the mall will rise. A second, earlier village was sensed west of the Barge Canal.
The next day David said he heard a story from a friend that alarmed him: large electric transformers had been sold to Marley's years ago—as many as ten—and buried on the site. Such transformers contain, David pointed out, "many gallons of PCBs," a substance believed to cause cancer.
The following Sunday David visited Marley's with another friend and got out his dowsing rods, which are "L" metal sticks in plastic swivel grips. Shortly he sensed 4 or 5 transformers buried off the Carousel site along the Conrail right-of-way. One was close the surface, another down at least ten feet.
David had to ponder this a bit, he said, because he knows some people think he is a kook and they don't understand dowsing. Others put him down because he lacks the certificate to back up his educated guesses, a college degree.
"The folks at Pyramid so far have no way of knowing for sure if PCBs exist there. "One thing is certain," Bruce Kenan, a Pyramid partner in the Carousel project said in February, "We're not going to make the ground any dirtier. We will clean up anything that needs to be cleaned up."
Truth is, dowsing is an ancient "parlor trick"—those are David's words—which has plenty of credibility among engineers and well diggers, in particular. Old-timers use forked apple sticks; others, like David, are "high-tech."
The working thesis here is that it opens a window into the earth's magnetic impulses. Almost everyone has the ability, David said, but some of us are better at it than others. He learned to dowse seven years ago at Omega Institute near Rhinebeck; he thinks he's good at it." It's like being able to see with half an eye after being blind all your life," David explained.
That was a little garbled and confused, but clear enough.
One more thing. David said he's not against the mall. It's just he wants it built free of toxins and with respect for the rich heritage of the plot. His worry is Pyramid, state, city and county officials have so far ignored his warning about the transformers.
"Right now I'm ready to stand in front of the bulldozers if this isn't straightened out," he said.
"Except there won't be any bulldozers at Marley's. How do you stand in front of a piledriver?" I thought.
I returned to scanning the paper. On page one a headline caught my eye:
Young's trip raises question of ethics
The Mayor had taken his family on a Vermont ski trip and stayed in the condominium of a Syracuse developer whom Young had given exclusive rights to build on a city-owned lot. On the trip, Mayor Young also had lunch and dinner with developer Robert Congel, who owns a ski lodge there, and was holding one of his ski competitions for his business associates there that weekend.
The article reported that the city's code of ethics, established in the wake of revelations former Mayor Alexander extorted $1.4 million in kickbacks from developers, reads:
No officer or employee of the city shall directly or indirectly solicit any gift or accept or recieve any gift having a value of $25 or more whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or any other form, under circumstances in which it could reasonably be inferred the gift was intended to influence him, or could reasonably be expected to influence him, in the performance of his official duties or was intended as an award for official action on his
Young refused to talk about the matter with a reporter. His spokesman said, ''You don't abandon friends because you're mayor." Mayor Young said, "I'm not going to pay to stay in a friend's home. We didn't talk about city business."
The article also revealed:
Congel's been accused of buying a town board election to win approval for a mall in Poughkeepsie.
His Syracuse-based firm has proposed building a similar $150 million mall in Oil City. Appointees of Young are considering a financing package that could save Pyramid more than $6 million on mall construction here.
|The Dragon and the Ice Castle
Rediscovery of Sacred Space in the Finger Lakes
144 pages, 8.5 x 11 soft cover
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It ended with the one line paragraph:
The vacation was over Sunday, Feb. 21.
So while I was digging a hole at the place of beginning to puncture a transformer, the mayor was wining, dining and skiing with the developer who refuses to investigate my discovery. Who could I trust? Who was my friend? Who would pay me for my efforts?
The next day I got a call from Ruth Fairfax in the Civil Service Employees Assoc. office in Albany, who had been alerted to my activities by workers at the New York State Barge Canal Terminal in Oil City who were alarmed about Pyramid's plans. They were afraid dredging of the Barge Canal Terminal would stir up heavy metals and industrial chemicals which had accumulated at the bottom of the canal, exposing them to the toxic sediments.
Ruth went on to relate how Pyramid had a reputation for buying low value land such as swamps and old dumps to build their malls. There was even an investigation of one site where Pyramid had built on a known dump site. She lauded me for my efforts and encouraged me to continue my efforts to get a competent, professional investigation of Marley's. Grimly, I assured her that I would. She promised to send me a packet of information on New York State regulations for hazardous waste sites.