Up A Creek

Photo_00002The seventeen year locust are here. In truth they are cicada, not locust, but it seems that people know what you mean when you say “locust,” since there are far and few entomologists about in the world to disagree when someone in the KenTacoHut or DunkenStarbucks drops the wrong term or this blogger uses the wrong term.
Sadly, Brood II is almost coming almost to an end. Another seventeen years and we will see these creatures again, perhaps. If things work out like they have for the past millions of years, we will see the next crop come out in 2030. At least some of us will. Or some of us will see them if it all works out for us. Or if things work out for the bugs. If things don’t work out, this may be the last time we see such an emergence. Considering how much has changed in so short a time* since 1996 (*geologically speaking) hiding underground for almost two decades may not serve these insects as well as it used to. Perhaps living above ground would better benefit these cridders in order to adapt to Ortho, rural exhurbian development, and Fraking, and Paula Dean’s comeback, and Billy’s first tooth, and sundry other changes to the environment either man… ahem… human-made or otherwise coming from outer space to confront all manner of creatures great and small through forces of Nature that are native to the planet, such as mass extinction and the vacuum of space.
The other day this blogger took to the local creek, a tributary of the mighty Hudson. Travel up the creek is somewhat easier at high tide and with a little rain. Considering we have been getting a great deal of rain, the creek is filled enough and with the tide still enough to travel up past the rail bridges, the highway bridge and around a rather idyllic bend where beaver, deer, and various birds are bountiful as well as several fish species – some migratory from the creek to the ocean others ocean to creek while others remain year-around – all of which lends to a very pleasant journey up by canoe. I have taken to this trip as many times as I can in a week, a free exercise regime. Up by the old dam, where there had been a paper mill several generations prior, there is a high cliff on one side, the Creek Road, and the other a rather stately house that may have been once part of the paper mill complex. While both dam and the pilings from a long vanished railway are both remnants of an industrial and dirty past, they have been wrestled into submission by ice, summer storms, super storms, super-duper storms, and time. With all this nature and a vanishing of our industrial past, I was surprised to discover that someone had dumped about twelve or fourteen television sets over the cliff. Some broke into pieces while others remained intact either suspended in trees or at the banks, or in the case of a few, bobbing in the eddies created by the water flowing about and over the ruins of the ancient dam.
Photo_00008I was able to snag the bobbing TeeVee and drag it to the shore as well as score a sticker off of another one, since they were all seemed from some kind of institution since each one was mounted on a stand of some kind… The sticker had contemporary cable channels and since I had not seen them there the last time I was up the creek, these fixtures were not part of some historical era long before garbage removal, but from just a few days ago.
The sticker read, “Sausto’s Pleasant Acres” a former resort for Italian-Americans that had been sold in 2002 after three generations of family ownership to a religious organization for some kind of a camp. One class apparently not taught in this former Italian-American resort turned religious fanatic camp is environmentalism. Considering that each TeeVee has within it several pound of lead, various solders, and sundry poisonous parts, rather not good for the water quality. However, perhaps we need not worry about the water quality since the water is basically poo anyway. On top of local people who fear the cost of taking TeeVees to the local rubbish pit due to the high cost of disposing of e-waste…. which at the town dump is exactly $0.00… we have enough houses emptying raw sewage into the creek to raise some kind of doodee bug by the order of several parts per million or about 30% above a certain level which since neither I nor most of us are entomologists, epidemiologists, bacteriologists, or vector trackers, is better explained by citing that a certain Gotham City closes its beaches when the poo bugs are around 7% per whatever. Which means that the creek may benefit from a little lead in order to confront the magnitude of poopatude** flowing down (** Poopatude, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, c. 2011).
So, the industrial age is still upon us, the flowing of raw London-style sewage is still with us, the dumping of toxic materials still upon us, while we have masked these activities with lots of hand sanitizer and several decorative shrubs. Our village had just been reminded that industry may have left the place a rotting husk after it moved on, but the toxins remain for decades. A local clean up was just completed of a former coal gas factory that operated from 1858-1958 and left all kinds of nasty sludge in the ground and the silt in the creek. Great. I have been here for years on the water and now it is being “cleaned up.” Just what I want to find out after several years of canoeing in the creek…. but I should have known, since the Hudson’s problem with PCBs has been the talk of the region since I was a kid and apparently local lore tells us that our PCBs are found in polar bears and Eskimos which I guess is some sort of notoriety as well as a lasting influence of American industry… the sort of industry we say we deeply miss since we need the jobs…. But are sort of happy that the Chinese can now choke on the fumes, gasses, noxious chemicals, and cancers of all sorts. Right in town we had our own Silkwood. The clean up of the coal gas site took weeks. Dredging, digging, creating of new landscapes from the old poisonous one. The dirt was processed through a huge complex machine that was able to remove the various chemicals using modern technology. The chemicals that were collected were in turn sent through a very space-age processor in order to transform them into harmless carbon, water vapor, and a small amount of biomass that will be used as fertilizer. Actually no. That didn’t happen. Some poor working slobs dug that fucked up dirt up, put it in large drums marked “toxic” and then loaded them onto huge black smoke belching trucks that are now driving them to the western lands to a cave, where they will be dumped. All these clever technology inventions are no help in transforming one substance into another. Perhaps we need more alchemists in the world.
The call of the cicada are out there in the woods doing their thing for the next few days or a week or two. The summer is officially here – or half over, depending on what tradition you follow… The waters continue to run high, fed by storms in the valley or high up in the mountains. Lightening reflects off the water as does the moon, starlight and stormfronts intermittent as all weather conditions are become local weather conditions as lightning cells, hail storms, and floods are as fierce as they are contained to a certain unlucky zipcode.
Today the waters runs reddish brown. Sticks and logs float by along with the plastic cups, an inner tube, a bottle of Powergaterdrinkaidbull, and one of the TeeVee sets. There had been little weather activity in the valley where rests Rheinlandistan but in the mountains storms raged and brought down ever more trees as predicted by WEATHERDOTCOM who seems to foretell all manner of disaster and have the risk each day in the millions in order to get our attention and suck up our bandwidth with various live videos, shocking secrets, and top list of this and that. I tossed my hook in the waters half hoping not to catch something since who knows what is in the fish of this water and would I die if I ate the thing or would my cats die if I fed it to them. We may have a government that listens in on its citizens, evades the rule of law, and can send a drone over your wedding/funeral/birthday/bar mitzvah to bomb the living shit out of you and whatever fuckers you keep company with, but our government can’t find our who dumped TeeVee sets into the drink nor who is shitting into our waters…
In seventeen years, what world will the locust find? In three years, what world will we find? In seventeen years, will we recognize our environment, political, built, or natural? Will Brood III be as good as Brood II, or will we not understand anything if we miss the first five minutes?
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