We didn’t know what we were in for.
While in East Texas we went camping in my dad’s yard. There were lots of things to occupy the kids while we set up the tents and made the campfire ring. New toys, the ever-so-popular tire swing, the dirt pile… With all these amenities, the average time between “she won’t let me swing!” and “I skinned my leg” was a good thirty minutes or so. Things were going well, in other words.
We had our tents, our nice fire, warm sleeping bags and lots of bamboo for making roasting sticks; perfect for hotdogs and marshmallows – and near pokes in the eye by impetuous six year olds. It could’ve been a great experience, but I was pushed beyond my zone that night.
The discomfort was, of all things, noise pollution. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has taking over this once peaceful town so now the insufferable rumble of eighteen wheelers plagued the entire night from dawn to dusk. The constant roar drowned out the idling trains and even made the blaring horns seem whimpy as they tore through town several times during the night, heedless of sleepy neighborhoods. For us in our little tents, it was like camping on an interstate median.
Familiar sounds were completely obliterated, even the ones that I remembered to be annoyingly loud. Tens of thousands of squawking blackbirds still nested in the tall trees surrounding us. Normally I could clap my hands and they would fall silent and take flight all at once – a pretty neat sight. But not only was my clapping pointless, their noises were barely audible above the mechanical droning.
Night fell, and we sat around the fire trying to hear each other’s voices.
Gosh it is really loud out here.
The absolute worst of the infernal sounds (we had all night in our cocoons to judge) was the air breaks. I swear the semi-truck drivers were competing with each other; or perhaps is was an act of spite since they were working at 3 a.m. and so everyone else needed to wake up and take notice. Jack hammers on wheels. Transformers with gas. Indescribable racket.
Property owners around these parts are getting a little extra cash for the natural gas drilling, so I guess what we experienced was just one of the trade-offs. Oh and by the way, noise wasn’t the only kind of pollution we had to deal with; the water was not safe to drink while we were there.
No problem; the drilling company is supplying the community with free bottled water…for now.
Entering the town someone erected this downright freaky crucifix; a pure, white life spread out on a cross with fracturing ends.
The symbolism seems oddly appropriate.
If you aren’t aware of just how widespread fracking is, take a look at this music video. Careful, it’s a pretty catchy tune and it might get stuck in your head.