Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hard times

Seems we're feast or famine on the blog front these days...

Every so often I read something that stops me dead in my tracks.

Last week it was this:

"That was Black Sunday, April 14, 1935, day of the worst duster of them all. The storm carried twice as much dirt as was dug out of the earth to create the Panama Canal. The canal took seven years to dig; the storm lasted a single afternoon. More than 300,000 tons of Great Plains topsoil was airborne that day."

Can you even imagine such a thing? 300,000 TONS of AIRBORNE DIRT!!!

I've developed a curiosity (my daughter says obsession) about the Dust Bowl recently.

I was home one Friday morning, bookless and flipping channels. I came upon The History Channel's airing of "Black Blizzard," an in-depth look at the Great Plains of 1930-1940. (It will air again at 8 p.m. Oct. 18.)

Most of what I knew about the Dust Bowl came from John Steinbeck novels. This show sent me to the library to learn more.

And so I read that paragraph in "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author's work combines personal stories with statistics and historical data in a fascinating look at the era.

It is still hard for me to fathom living through 10 years of drought and heat and disease and dust in a home that provided little shelter from the elements.

To meet these families who continued on in such conditions was inspiring. My obsession continues...

- Tricia Ambrose

As to Jason's hack test, I wish him well. I'm curious to hear the outcome, but skeptical that art can be reduced to numbers. Good luck.

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