Midnight at the Oasis
May 2022 — a Spring month surrounded by war, and in places abnormal temperatures. There are of course moments of insane humor — Musk and Twitter — and moments of insanity — domestic terrorism in the US. This is punctuated by the arrival at the US southern border of thousands of migrants hoping for a golden ticket to the magical land of the USA.
The leak of the Supreme Court document, that overturns a half-century of precedent shows that the ghost of Trump/Evangelicals/Neo-Nazis is alive and well in the Spring of 2022. But none of these matters as we drive into Texas from Mexico to see the grandkids. The kids are a product of our adopted borderline daughter. She has given birth to five children in the last eight years. To her credit, she has let them all be adopted to loving, committed families. As grandparents who simply have no skin in the game, the outcomes are great for the kids, but as grandparents, we have no options other than the kindness of the parents to let us see the kids.
We cross the border at Laredo on Monday, May 9th, it was 103F/39.44C. Thankfully our car has A/C. We drove to San Antonio, Texas to have dinner with the kids and their parents. I grew up in Texas in the 50s. It was always hot in the summer months but we had cold winters and occasional snow, but for most of the year, it was pleasant. May was always a transition month. It started out mild, and by Labor Day turned the heat up a little. June would eventually go full bore blast furnace as July took over. I was surprised by the oppressive heat that was already ruling Texas weather.
But Texas is now the land of extremes — weather, politics, and Elon Musk! Yep — Elon moved to Austin where his giant Gigi Factory is located. Texas has no income tax — that is the bait and switch tactic used on people. They just forget to tell you about property taxes, sales tax, taxes, and fees on everything else — but no income tax. But deep pocket people receive exemptions out the wazoo. Elon and Jeff are both in those groups. Blue Horizon and SpaceX both have a big presence in the state.
In the past, the big draw for Texas was cheap housing but now not so much. A single-wide mobile home will set you back about $250k. A real home will push you north of $500k in a heartbeat. Then you have to deal with the electric bill that can easily be close to $1k a month so you can keep cool. In the week I was in Texas — 6 power plants failed due to the surging demand. Please turn up your thermostat to 78 F or above. Well — okay then — this is May — not July and you have already exceeded your ability to handle the demand!
The climate deniers, oil companies, and a myriad of other organizations say there is nothing wrong and are always singing the same tune, “It’s Not True” to keep people in the dark about the changes happening around them. In the USA this is an easy sell, as the “Status Quo” people will happily buy in to the delusion/dream.
80% of Texas is now in a drought. I lived and worked on a farm in Texas for 15 years, I saw drought destroy pastures, and made it nearly impossible to keep the farm going. The heat and lack of water turned our pastures into dust. What should have been profitable times made us spend all of our money on buying hay, water, and grain. All of these staples became so expensive that there was no money left over for anything.
In 2022, the drought returned, combined with extreme temperatures that will threaten the ability to keep humans and animals safe. I wish for an oasis that will provide water, shade, and the ability to survive in what looks like an overheating world where no one cares or does little to stop it.
Our two grandchildren were so happy, and healthy, and we enjoyed every minute of our time together. My little grandson would look at me and say, “You know what?” I smiled at him, and said, “What?”