Sunday, September 19, 2010

Midwestern Cornucopia

Dateline Puyallup

I've had enough of the open road, and have curtailed my little adventure. After a lovely drive through the Black Hills I spent two days traversing endless fields of corn- not the kind of corn that you buy at the grocery store, but the kind that is fed to the beeves, or turned into corn syrup for your candy bars, or alcohol to fuel your car- I was in a daze. South Dakota and Nebraska are but two of the states in the midwestern America that exist to feed the world. Much of Nebraska is composed of an area called the sandhills. These are grassy knolls aplenty, sparsely covered with grass where the beeves graze not knowing that the feed lot awaits them, and that it is their fate to transformed into Big Macs. Buffalo formerly roamed here, pursued by Cheyennes, Hunkpapa, and other indigenes. Now placid kine have taken their place, having made a grim bargain with modern man. They have traded the uncertainty 0f wildness for the certainties of domestication. Has it been a good bargain? There are millions of cattle now, but very few buffalo.
Along the Platte River trundle trains after trains loading from the silos, elevators, and feed lots bringing the products of this cornucopia to the cities. This is the industrialization of food, and without it, the cities could never support the populations they take for granted.
But it is a long way from the wild paradise described in George Armstrong Custer's diaries, and hurtling along the highway one is consumed by a hunger to see hills and mountains, valleys and canyons and cascading rivers.
Those indigenous people were displaced by my people, and that was what I came to see. Now I have seen it, I am glad, and now I want to see the ocean again.

No comments:

Post a Comment