Sunday Column: Be careful with this place…

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
Fargo Forum

7 thoughts on “Sunday Column: Be careful with this place…

  1. Lovely, thoughtful post and article Jessie. I worry that there is too much short term money in it for the oil industry (including the auto manufacturers) to make changes that should have come long ago. Why our cars and trucks don’t get better gas mileage baffles me. Why folk who live their entire lives in cities buy F150’s baffles me …

    Many people are leaving Nova Scotia to go work in the Alberta oil patch (our cute name for the tar sands).

    Jobs and the economy seem to be top of mind for our Prime Minister and climate change a dubious concept …

    I fear for our futures ….

  2. Great post, great article in the Fargo forum, and great comment from Sybil.
    Tough subject that brings lots of questions about the way we live and impact our natural surroundings.
    Here in California much talk is done around the Monterey Shale where possible fracking could happen. The consequences would be as dramatic on the fragile coastal landscape as they are in your beautiful state.

  3. I must say that this made me cry. I have been living in Tempe, a very populated city in Arizona for the past 5 years and it kills me inside. I am originally from New Hampshire and when read your posts it reminds me of how I feel about home.

  4. Beautiful as always: a little poetic, a little wistful, a little funny. I wish I had your gift of language! That’s said out of appreciation, not envy. You’re using your gift well! Keep telling your stories: of your home, your family, and the land. And we’ll keep reading! ~ Sheila

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