I write about this beautiful place. I write about how it grew me up and sent me out and welcomed me back home again. I write about the cows grazing on the sunny side of hills and what it means to me to step outside and smell the first clover of summer as it reaches and stretches to the sky.
I write about it and I photograph it–the red barn and the horses’ fuzzy ears.
The creek and her banks, the horizon and her sunrises and sunsets. The tall grass and flowers.
The buttes and the red road that cuts through it all.
And then I write about the impact the booming oil industry is having on our home, about how the big trucks kick up dust and throw rocks at my windshield on their way to punch holes that extract the fuel that this country relies on for more things than we care to remember when we curse that dust.
I talk about the people it brings with it, those persistent, resilient people with stories to tell, because there are jobs. Countless jobs being created and recreated every day. Jobs that brought us here, my husband and I, back to this ranch to make our lives. We likely wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those jobs.
Neither would my sisters.
Because it used to be much harder out here, you know, to make ends meet.
To make a living.
So there are things that I can manage. Things that go along with looking for ways to make the most out of this land we stand on, like the dust and the traffic and the noise over the hill that wasn’t there yesterday, and maybe won’t be tomorrow. Much of this impact is fleeting.
Much of it is forever.
But I don’t want it to fail.
I read in the papers the words of reporters sent out to tell the story of what’s happening around me. If there are mistakes out here, they will be written down. If there are questions, they will be asked. If there is something to say about how this is ruining a place, making it better, making it harder, making it easier, making us mad or happy or richer or poorer or crazy, the air too dusty, too noisy, too much, not enough, too damn good to be true, not what it was, not like it will ever be again…
It will all be said.
Somedays I don’t know what to make of it.
This is what I have to say about it all today…
Coming Home: We’re not all reckless in oil country
by Jessie Veeder
March 23, 2014