Way back when my granny was a kid, the country was in the midst of living through both the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.
Now we know that poor farming practices and a six-year drought caused the soil from the plains in Texas and Oklahoma to literally blow away creating massive dust storms that roared through towns like blizzards. The storms killed livestock, further decimated the weakened land and caused 'dust pneumonia' as the fine sanded grit of dust filtered into lungs. Tim Egan memorably wrote about what the people who stayed on their land went through back then in his book "The Worst Hard Time".
My granny is a product of that time. The soles of her shoes were tire treads, and she remembers the hungry, unemployed people and how her own family scraped by living off of the land in just outside of Houston. But as tough as things were for her, the people who tried to hang on in the Dust Bowl had it much worse.
Eventually, the drought ended and the land began to come back, though it never really recovered. Neither did the people who lived on it, Egan noted. The Dust Bowl became a thing of the past.
But now, we're suffering through yet another drought, and it looks like there could be a new Dust Bowl candidate in the dusty Southwest (no, despite all of that dead grass outside, it's not down in the Crossroads).
Arizona went through a massive dust storm back in July. it was more than a mile high, 100 miles wide and moving at 40 mph. While it wasn't the worst storm ever it wasn't a good sign for those betting against that area becoming "The Southwest Dust Bowl". With La Nina pretty much set to withhold the rain so much of the country needs so badly, and that area already leaning toward the dusty side of things, is far from impossible that a new Dust Bowl might be created t. Weird right?
We've already got our Great Recession, and now it seems we may get our own Dust Bowl to boot. Maybe I should look into tire-tread shoes. History does have the strangest way of repeating itself.
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