The Rumbling


The earth rumbles. The lack of wind on this particular Friday morning means sounds carry for long distances across the countryside. A dog barks every time I hear the rumbling. Does he bark at the rumbling or at some coyote that has come a little closer than the dog cares for?

Most of the rumbles occur west-north-west from here and always in the Spring. The frequency has increased greatly over the last decade and now seems to come from many different directions. But, the ones from the west-north-west have always bothered me because of the large oil field that has been there and in production for a very long time.

I don't know much about the oil industry outside of some of its products/byproducts; I've never worked in the fields like so many in Texas have. But I do wonder, just how much of something can you take out of the ground without affecting the integrity of the surface as we know it? (At least the water in most aquifers that we pull from the ground replenishes with adequate rainfall.)

I understand the composition of the earth shifts daily, soil creeps, faults shift, erosion decays, volcanoes spew, etc., and that it is mostly our involvement in daily routine that causes us to react with some bit of drama when catastrophic events occur. Nevertheless, I am still amazed how stable an environment we have become used to when perhaps we shouldn't become too used to it at all.

When I think today about the network of interconnected pipes underground, the electrical transmission lines that run overhead, the number of planes that can cross the skies on a business day, the roads that are passable, I don't necessarily always see normal as much as I see how very fortunate we are to live during such times.

We should never make the mistake of assuming this is the way it has always been, or that this is the way it will always be, just like a field appears to have always been free of briars and thorn bushes doesn't mean it started out that way nor will stay that way without a caretaker. In the same way, I find it hard to believe we can pull so much out of the ground and not suffer some sort of consequence. But who knows, maybe the rumbling is simply a drying crust.