Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I've Been Away Too Long

I know... nobody reads this blog. And I've kinda left it untended for a long time.

But I need to vent, and in the end that's all this has ever been. A place to vent. A place where one tiny cog of the huge machine with billions of moving parts can cry out in his tiny little voice in a way that will at least leave a mark.

It's a scribble on a middle school bathroom wall. I know that. But it's my middle school and at least a few of my fellow students, family, friends and followers, will be forced to know that there indeed once was a man from Nantucket.

And just now I need to vent.

I stumbled across a New Yorker magazine article today about some new disease. Spores are being stirred up by dust storms out west causing fatal lung infections, and I have not been able to shake a sense of shame and melancholy.

I can't say why this has affected me so much. You see stuff like this all the time. The extinction of whole species. TV commercials of doomed polar bears struggling to find a place to survive and so on are rampant. The slow increase in global temperatures and CO2 levels. Whales and dolphins beaching themselves in a futile attempt to flee the din and stench of the sea. The horrific storms that seem to be finding whole new courses across the globe.

The droughts.

With a storm of the century occurring every two years or so it just seems odd to me that I should be so profoundly affected by a fungal infection that's killing so few people every year that the medical research community hasn't even noticed it yet. I guess because my father and wife both have lung conditions and the idea of suffocating to death is just particularly horrifying to me.

I know... I know... what the hell does any of this have to do with global climate change. I guess I should elaborate.

Most people don't know this but the Great Plains wasn't always a dust bowl. Back in the day, before the civil war, it was a lush grassland. They were literally the great plains. The ground didn't suck up every drop of rain that touched it. There were streams and rivers. And there was life. Everywhere.

And then white people showed up. We slaughtered the buffalo that cropped the grasslands and converted it to fresh topsoil for the coming years. The people that had survived there for millenia dwindled and died in an act of second hand genocide that even Joseph Stalin would have to grudgingly respect.

The grasses died. The ground dried up. And here we are. Some hundred and fifty of us last year, gasping out our last dying breaths. We are paying the price for our grandparents greed, shortsightedness, and ignorance.

I shudder to think what price my grandchild will pay for mine.