Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 9-10-12
The western states are on fire — Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Dakotas, Nebraska and on and on. Everyone is waiting for healing rain, for cooling temperatures. Ranchers are paying astronomical prices for hay to be trucked in from other states and down from Canada. Some are selling down their herds. So it’s with rather wry-eyed amusement that I observe the activities of neighbors who built a starter mansion on a bluff across the draw from me.
Times are changin’ on our western ranges
As things get worse in cities
Folks feel stressed so they’re lookin’ west
While singin’ soulful ditties.
Where can they go, they want to know
To start their lives anew
Put a home on a crest in the mountain west
With a spectacular view!
There’s the urban folk and this is no joke
Who built up a cloudy draw.
Their road’s so shear they gotta use low gear
And travel at a crawl.
When the wind doth blow do these folks know
How picture windows can rattle?
When glass starts to shake, what will it take
Before their nerves are addled?
And lately I see but find hard to believe
They’ve trucked in loads of dirt
And spread it around in a humped up mound
As if the earth has burped.
They want soddy grass like they had in the past
Back in Tallahassee
And next they plan — or so I understand —
They’re gonna plant sapling trees!
Pre-grown lawn might hold the dirt on
Unless the wind blows first.
Loose soil will budge and turn to sludge
Should a heavy rainstorm burst.
The lawn slides down the mountain’s side
That could test their mettle.
It’s always amusing but also confusing
To see new settlers settle!
It’s sort of a pity watching folks from a city
Who haven’t any clues.
As they run into woes when they try to impose
Their erstwhile city views.
They’re plumb entertainin’ and
I may be complainin’
But I sure do wonder why
They give no thought to this awful drought
As grasslands shrivel and die!
Fires eat homes leaving mummified bones —
A sickening grisly feast.
Burning to the ground everything found
In the path of the hungry beast.
Twisted wrecks are all that’s left
Or houses and barns and hay.
And when the fire slackens the earth is blackened
Where the devil held the day!
These urbanites simply ignore the plight
Of those in dire straits.
For what do they care how others fare
’Tis merely a matter of fate.
And I suppose somehow, I should not allow
Their actions to raise my hair
But consumption conspicuous seems
In these times of utter despair!
Smoke makes a curtain till it isn’t certain
Mountains are on the horizon.
Of the scene over yonder I’m growing
But my attitude’s starting to lighten.
I still think they’re dotty but the porta potty
Has up and been hauled away.
Which must mean they’re done with
And that’s about all I can say! ❖
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