The floods are awful, but I can see the first settlers of Texas long, long ago, saying… “this will be a good place to build a town, and we’ll name it after ol’ Sam Houston hisself. We’ll have a good view of the river from here and it’ll never get this high.”
My late Uncle Norten once told me about an Ozarks deluge in 1933 when it rained so hard and the wind was so strong at times that it washed away the clay mud chinking on the west side of the cabin and started blowing rain in through the cracks. He was only ten but he remembered that for awhile the sawdust that they used to cover the dirt floor was floating in water. Fortunately, the oak shingles didn’t leak, and so their beds in the attic stayed dry. Those beds consisted of makeshift mattresses filled with duck feathers mostly. He said it was a lot better life than the first Ozark settlers had enjoyed, when they had to live primitively.
Eventually the rain ended, the sun reappeared, the flood ended and life returned to normal. Then they just had the heat of summer to contend with… and the depression. For a ten-year-old the depression was no problem. There in the hills, times didn’t get much worse than they had been, just because the stock market crashed.
My heart goes out for those in the path of the storms, those who have lost so much because it seems that nature has become an enemy. It will get worse as each decade passes. Many of us have felt it was coming… those of us who feel we live a little closer to nature than the masses who crowd together in a world of concrete and pavement and glass and computers.
No, I am not one of those global warming nuts… I have no scientific evidence to call upon to help me predict the future course nature might take, and I don’t know for sure what is happening or what is coming. But something is happening, and I am fairly sure it is going to get worse. It is the consequence of huge, ever-increasing numbers of people, and the idea that whatever we do to the earth will have no lasting effect. It is the problem of man not realizing that the earth is, after all, the boss… and man is not.
What we are doing isn’t any great secret. We are destroying the earth’s ability to protect us. But what is coming as a result of that, I can’t predict. I guess there will be more old timers sitting around and saying, “I ain’t never seen nothin’ like this.”
There is no turning around; there is no changing the course. We are going wherever we are going, and good or bad, global warming, global cooling, or global chaos… it is coming eventually. I would hate to be living in a huge city, where all of a sudden, there might be no course to take but trying to get out of it, to someplace where there aren’t so many millions of people to compete with and run from. Some things a man can’t do a thing about. When a massive black cloud forms on the horizon, you just can’t change its course or take away the power of the impending storm. Not even with a computer.
There is one thing that gives me a good feeling. I know a place or two where the woods are deep and the trees are big, and the spring water is still clean and when I am there, there’s no one else to ruin it. There’s a cave there to protect me from wind and rain and ice alike. If times get too hard, I intend to take my computer and television and a good sleeping bag and some matches, and move there.
I didn’t intend to tell anyone about this but when I went to Canada alone a few weeks ago, I never intended to come back. I just wanted to end it all in that land of my ancestors, who were French Trappers (the men) and Cree Indians (the women), or if nothing else meet some Cree women who didn’t have any French trappers with them.
I was sure that if I tied a couple of pieces of bacon around me and slept way back in the woods a timber wolf or two would take care of things. No luck! Mosquiteos ate all the bacon! Next I tried swimming across the lake, and what the heck, I MADE IT. Who would have thought it!
Then I saw a man camped on the other side of the lake and he asked me what I was doing and I told him I was trying to kill myself without committing suicide. Well, it is a small world. That’s what he was doing up there. His wife had run off with a tractor salesman and she sent him a John Deere letter. He just couldn’t go on without her.
But he was smarter than me, had and idea I never thought of. He stood on a rock point over deep water and picked up a huge rock and jumped into the lake. Well I was impressed, and I started looking for a rock about that size. But about then he came sputtering to the surface, half choked on lake water. Come to find out the rock was way to big to carry all the way to the bottom.
When I left, he was looking for shallower water and a rock that wasn’t so heavy. He stayed behind and said he would write me and let me know if he found something that worked. Later I gave some thought to falling out of the airplane when they came to get me but it was going too fast to get the door open and I couldn’t get the darn seat belt unlatched. That’s why I don’t fasten my pick-up seat belt… what if I have a wreck and can’t get it loose?
I am going back in October and have thought about running my boat into a rock bluff with my trolling motor wide open. But I hate to think of what it might do to my boat. If anyone has any ideas about what I can do to come to a peaceful conclusion without committing suicide I would like to hear from them. I may just cancel the whole idea until I get to be ninety.
I have a few of the fall issue of my outdoor magazine left and will be glad to give them to those who have never seen it to those who will pay the postage. Be one of the first callers and I will throw in the envelope free. Just call me at 417/777-5227. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, MO 65613.