"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Grapes of Wrath--Dust Bowl Future



Dust Bowl Future, 9 by 12 watercolor, 140# Fabriano Artistico
The Dust Bowl Future looms on humanity's horizon like Black Sunday did in the Dust Bowl Depression.
 Read Mr. Steinbeck's opening lines in "Grapes of Wrath"--
  •     "To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth. The plows crossed and recrossed the rivulet marks. The last rains lifted the corn quickly and scattered weed colonies and grass along the sides of the roads so that the gray country and the dark red country began to disappear under a green cover. In the last part of May the sky grew pale and the clouds that had hung in high puffs for so long in the spring were dissipated. The sun flared down on the growing corn day after day until a line of brown spread along the edge of each green bayonet. The clouds appeared, and went away, and in a while they did not try any more. The weeds grew darker green to protect themselves, and they did not spread any more. The surface of the earth crusted, a thin hard crust, and as the sky became pale, so the earth became pale pink in the red country and white in the gray country....
  •    "The air and the sky darkened and through them the sun shone redly, and there was  a raw sting in the air....
  •    "In the morning the dust hung like fog, and the sun was as red as ripe new blood. All day the dust sifted down from the sky, and the next day it sifted down. An even blanket covered the earth."
"We will see this again," I thought," forgetting the lessons of that man-made disaster," and starting painting, from the gut. 
Humanity is inhumanely writing its obituary, its extinction notice. 
Science, and detailed books about mass extinctions, and politicos ignoring factual science about climate change, spurring contempt for any regard for our planet's health turned my thoughts to the opening paragraphs of Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."
Just nine years from now--in about 2026--wars will be probably be fought over water and food, not oil, and exploding populations and increasing heat will turn much of the earth brown, with coastlines swamped under rising oxygen-dead oceans.
As the politicos have no concern for  the future, only lining their corporate pockets with more greed, at my age I don't have much to worry about. But my children and grandchildren do.
This is not "dystopian." (I had to look that word up the first time I heard it. It isn't pretty) Facts--2026--Ten billion people, less water, less farmland, less food, less water, fewer jobs. Chinese will be the most spoken language. Islam will be the largest religion. 
Unless there is a pandemic, or a nuclear war, it will happen because the leaders of the world's most powerful country are trying to speed up the process, ignoring science, attacking the environment, to make a quick buck. 
Best single example, of many,  is  Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA...the fox in charge of the hen house. He's a foe of environment because his puppet strings are pulled by big corporations, big energy and others  like the Koch Bros., who want to rape the earth to make more money, screwing the future of the middle class and poor.
 We have passed the tipping point of turning the process around where humans can survive on earth. This isn't politics. This is science.
Don't believe it? It's happened before. Don't agree with it? You didn't live in the Dust Bowl, or study it,  did you?
Thus the vision of this painting...more to come.



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