For a couple of decades, I have traveled between Aberdeen and Tacoma Park, where I have a place I have use as work studio, on a daily basis. I have previously written about the disappearance of animal life along the way. A few years past, the drive would take me past some horse pastures, some places where lambs would frisk in the spring, and some huge herds of cattle. But those places have all been converted to cropland. The conversion of the prairie into factory farms has eliminated livestock on the land. And people, too.
The significance of that conversion has its effects on the human, domestic animal, and wildlife populations. As I travel through the country, there is little to observe but the limitless fields of corn and soybeans. There is little else.
Many years ago I was the farm editor for a Midwest newspaper. Driving through the countryside was not a lonely experience then. As one passed by farmsteads, it was always easy to see which ones had children. Kids were always outside. Younger ones could be seen on swing sets, bicycles, under basketball hoops on garages or barns, doing what kids do. Often one could see them in the farmyard training and grooming their 4-H animals. Older teen-agers tended to hang out around cars of friends who dropped by. And if one traveled the countryside on Sundays or holidays, it was common to see large family or neighborhood gatherings under the trees around tables laden with food. There was always the activity of a busy community.
When I travel the country side today, I may see some farmyards with swing sets, but never any children on them. If I ever do encounter another human, it is usually a lone person on a lawn tractor mowing the yard. What is striking about the rural landscape today is the desolation.
|No more egrets.|