Friday, January 8, 2010

True Life Tail #3

Black Blizzard

Kansas 1937, a tail from my father, Picture if you
will, walking along a fence line in a cow pasture. A
inch of soil now hangs on each strand of wire, seem-
ing as if a floating line of solid dirt, four strands all in
a row. The ground so dry that with each step a small
cloud of dust appears.

Plant life, what plant life, well if you can call weeds a
plant well than I guess you can call it that. Very little
grass to be found, animals paper thin, bank payments
falling way behind, that loan now looks as if a bad

Where has all the rain gone, wondering if it will ever
rain again. Top soil gone, the blowing winds have
carried it all away, even the most stubborn of soils

These years have been hard on the land and hard on
its people. Choking dirt everywhere, only relief a
piece of cloth covering the mouth and eyes.

And the house, clean as many times as you want,
two seconds later the dirt is back. And its every-
where, on the table, beds, dishes, pots, pans.
windows, floors, everywhere and every place.
Each meal was enjoyable as well, with every bite a
touch of dirt was servered with it, just an extra

Wake up in the morning, your bed is covered in
a fine layer of dirt, who needs a blanket with all
that dirt just use it as if were a blanket.

Dust is everywhere except where it should be,
it fills the skies, it floats across the land, but
does not stay. Even at the lightest breeze causes
dust to appear from nowhere.

Times were hard and difficult, and life went on,
for those that stayed and those who left their
homes for greener grass. Promised by the call of
a better life in California many left a house that
that was home to generations before. Upon
arrival, their dreams were dashed. Life had gone
from miserable to almost unbearable.   Better to
remained home many said to themselves.

All who lived that year will not soon forget those
days that a cloud of dust traveling across the
ground reaching hundreds of feet into the sky.
A wall of black soil moving as if it where a
tsunami, instead of water, a cloud of jet black
soil. Moving faster than anyone could escape
no place to hide, nowhere to run.  All you could
do is pray and wait for the cloud to pass.

So much dirt was moved by the winds that day
the barbwire fence which was spoken of earlier,
now was a wall of dirt, soild from top to bottom.
measuring 2 inches at the top wire, and serval
feet at its base.

It is believed that nearly 7000 deaths occured be-
cause of the dust.  Not all died from respiratory
failure however most did, some from auto accidents
, being unable to see the road.

Nearly 2.3 to 2.5 million people lost their homes
by the time the rains returned, ending the 1930's
great Dust Bowl.

End of the great dust bowl came when the rains
returned.  New farming ways were adopted
so to prevent the dust bowl and not to occur again.
But farmers that use underground aquifers still
farm that same old way. You can see this when
flying over farm land that has circle fields.  And
are now depleting those same aquifers.

Am I againest that type of farming, no would be
my answer!

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