Before I begin my story, copy and paste the following GPS map location coordinates into your address bar:
After you hit Search, you will be given a map with a ‘red pin’ marking the location where this story begins. Now click or tap on the map and you will be given the satellite view. You’re now looking at the location of my former ranch west of Edinburg, Texas (north of La Joya) and seven miles north of the river. To help give some size perspective, the small rectangle at the tip of the red pin is a 24’ x 32’ metal shade I’d built to protect my domicile, a Boles Aero trailer (similar to the one shown in the following link):
If you zoom out on the map image, you see that the square patch of ‘monte’ (brush land) is surrounded by agribiz dry land farming. Contained in the square are two easily discernible fracking well pads. If you zoom further out, you’ll see more fracking locations to the south and many, many more to the north that weren’t there forty years ago when I lived there. [You won’t see the major natural gas line that runs along Giles Road that connects with Mexico.]
The ‘pivotal moment’ in my life was 40+ years ago while I was sitting in my trailer and reading a magazine article about the tombstones of the original Alaskan settlers tipping over because the permafrost in which they were anchored was melting. Mention was, also, made of how the Inuits were having to travel further and further north each year to gather the berries upon which they depended. As I read this and more, I experienced a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. As I looked out my window, in my ‘heart of hearts’, I realized that a warming world meant that the marginal land in my region would eventually become untenable.
When I’d started my ranch, the entire area was all brush land owned almost entirely by the Edinburg Improvement Association. They’d bought it all up decades before because they were primarily interested in possessing the mineral rights. Soon after I’d established myself, they cleared all of their land and began raising sorghum and cotton. With this came severe soil erosion, pesticides, dust (lots of dust) and a host of related problems, which included poachers and illegal aliens targeting my place since it now stood out like an oasis in a ‘sea of ugly’. Smugglers, also, became more problematic — with one of my fellow ranchers being killed by a “stray bullet” while riding his horse. Within seven years of the agribiz operation being initiated, I’d sold off my cattle and moved to town.
As I look back and remember sitting in my trailer contemplating global warming while watching the smoke from the fires set by those clearing the bordering brush land, I can see that what I experienced then was a microcosm of what has driven the world in the direction of our current impending crises now.
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