Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This font is the color Nebraska was in the fall. We moved here at the end of August a few years ago when the farmers from the Colorado state line to the tiny town we now call home in the Western Nebraska panhandle were still growing field after field of golden massive headed sunflowers, field after field of wheat and acres of beans. It was a stunning patchwork quilt in golds, tans, greens and dark fertile earth brown.

Everything this last year was corn green and corn dried up tan. I'm sure the farmers were happy selling all that corn to the green fuel processors. A new plant is being built nearby. I'm sure everyone was happy the earth will be safer by people using eco-friendly, re-suppliable, sustainable fuels. And I'm happy about that, too.

But ---my drive to the lake or over to a friends farm house for the Christian Women's meeting every month, or the just for the fun of it trip around the country to the three state lines this end of the country touches--well, they just aren't beautiful or stunning or amazing or heartbreakingly beautiful as they were when farmers sold sunflower seeds and sunflower oil and wheat and oats.

I live in an area both coasts call "fly over" with a dismissive tone. We don't seem to matter in BIG things in the world. We don't even matter in BIG things in our State which is governed from the Eastern side and often the talk in the local restaurant, the hamburger place, and church lunches is about our "importance" neglected all around.

And yet--along with the corn for green fuel mania--I live where 24 hours a day coal trains go by on two tracks practically surrounding this town--there really is no "wrong side of the tracks" here--they are right around and through town--there is a "as far away from the tracks as you can get" though. Up near the golf course or over by the University Farm. Nothing else goes on these train tracks. Not cars or food or any form of goods for sale. Just 15 tons of coal per car. There are 3 miles of train filled with coal in one direction and 3 miles of train empty of coal going in another direction 24 hours a day. Over and Over and Over. The volume of coal going through this one little town is astounding. This country runs on coal. The coal runs through this town. Any little glitch in the system of getting the coal from Wyoming and Montana to where ever and the system comes to a silent and yet thundering halt. There have been several rail break downs--so --many people were talking (and small towns as well as big towns have "people talking") about the possibilities. The coal companies and train companies quickly put out statements that these were simple maintanence. Still--

It is very silent today. We had ice and snow and temperatures of -8. The double engines with their miles long tails are not running. Something has put a glitch in the delivery of the fuel I am using to heat my house (thank God) and turn on my lights and use the computer. Somehow-I think we "fly over" states matter awfully.

I'm going to join the local Democratic Party. They march with a huge red white and blue banner saying NEBRASKA DEMOCRATS in the County Fair parade each year. They go right in front of my house. In a year or so no one carrying on the proud tradition of parading may be alive to hold up the banner so I thought they might need me. Right now there are 3 women all wonderfully active white haired leftists carrying the banner for Democrats in Republican strongholds, hiding their love of Hillary and Obama --except during the County Fair Parade. I dye my hair but I'll fit right in.

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