Saturday, April 09, 2005

A Parable About the Future: Dangerous Gullies

When I was a child, one of my favorite chores was to saddle up old Socksie and ride him down to Bear Canyon Creek crossing to put up barriers after summer thunderstorms. The desert always glowed with that special red aura as every spine of every cacti turned into miniature rainbows as the setting sun lit them up. Socksie would snort with happiness as the delightful herbal aroma fills the moist air. He was nearly blind from old age but he still smelled things just fiine. Every year, as I set up the barricade which we parked next to the highway, I couldn't just leave, I had to stay to insure no one tried crossing the road until the thunderstorms were done.

Meanwhile, I would amuse myself by catching toads, pushing around the tarantulas that came out of their flooded holes or throwing stones into the raging arroyo.

Then cars would come. Every time, without exception, if the driver didn't know me personally, they would begin to argue. "Why can't I drive across?" they would demand. I would explain the dangers, patiently. Disbelief. "You are only a kid. You don't know anything". I would then warn them, I take license plate numbers and the sheriff Burr, who told me to do this, would be pretty steamed if they go around the barrier or harrass me.

Then comes the threats. "You better move out of the way or I will run you over." I take pencil in hand, write down the information and then I step aside. What happens next, and it happened a LOT:

The driver sees only the surface of the water which looks rather serene going downstream. If he or she threw in a stick and watched it shoot away, they would hesitate. But no, none ever did this scientific experiment. Always, they drove in as fast as possible, hoping speed would work.

It never worked.

The vehicle is now stalled. If it is a low on, it begins to turn and head downstream. This is where I order them to not get out of the car but wait until Socksie and I get the rope over to them. It was rather fun pulling out one wet hen after another over the years. Even when I told people about this, they refuse to listen, go in, and scream for the rope.

I grew up and left.

My mom and dad tried to keep this up but it was harder for them, they are nicer than I. I used to tell people "No, I won't rescue you" just to teach them a lesson before throwing the rope. One stormy day, the sheriff was with my parents trying to rescue a car load of errant travelers from that spot. A TV station crew wanted to film the rescue so while the camera was gotten ready, the people drowned.

This traumatized my parents. The sheriff was fired. The TV station got great film of people dying.

Why am I writing about this?

Here: "Elaine, oil is definitely an exhaustible resource (Hubbert's peak general concept), but I don't think we are on the downside of the peak yet." This quote isn't unusual on forums, it is normal. Whenever I talk about the future, everyone says, they see the water but it doesn't look scary, the road looks smooth, why not just keep on driving?

The Hubbert Oil Peak may happen today or tomorrow or next year. But why wait until the water is around the windows and Elaine and Sockie aren't there with the energy/lifestyle rope to save you? For in this case, there is no one there to save any of us unless we decide to become the savior, ourselves. If I drove or tried to walk into that arroyo, I would have died. And I am an excellent swimmer. This is why, after the storms, I would ride a horse and take along a stout rope. I often thought of taking a rifle, too, and using it to shoot out the tires of recalitrant driver's cars. But I believed in free will. If one wanted to freely do something dumb, so be it.

More people drown in the desert than drown in swimming pools in Arizona.

Can you swim after a flashflood?

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home