Friday, May 13, 2005

Yesterday had a flavor all its own.
Here at the school, the attendance has dropped precipitously, with an average of only twenty five out of sixty five attending during the week. Things are mighty laid back, right now, making me feel a bit useless and like the days are misspent. Not much for a teacher to do but keep the few on task and answer a question here and there.
After work, I stopped off at Wally's to get a snack for a trip over the mountain with Ryan to fish. In the parking lot was something indicative of these odd times here in Sanpete. There has been a bit of an oil rush in northern Sevier and Sanpete counties the past few months, and people like this are showing up in our normally staid and lower-income population. You probably see this sort of thing all of the time where you live, but here in the lowest per capita income and highest unemployment county in Utah, this sort of thing is rather in-your-face-conspicuous:

See what I mean? The status quo in our little county is older Suburbans, flat-bed pickups and other tattered domestics, so this is fairly like a greyhound amongst pugs.
There are quite a few speculators here about besides the Texas Olman above, with even local wannabe tycoons getting into the act. At least one fellow has been going through land titles, offering little old widows and the like ridiculously low sums to sign over mineral rights on property in an effort to increase his holdings made in cellular and real-estate.
All of this turns my stomach. If oil really happens, I don't know if I want to be around as our little place becomes something like freaking Evanston, Wyoming; thousands of opportunists descending like locusts, bringing change at a pace and magnitude never before seen around here.
The fishing trip was a cold and snowy outing, with whiteout conditions at the top of the pass. There is more snow up at the high elevations than there has been all season. The drifts at the side of the road are falling down onto the lanes in places. Lower down the hill, there is evidence that the roadbed is slumping and might head into the canyon below. One such place, about forty feet long and as wide as the road itself had fallen at least four inches by the time we passed on our way home. That was somewhat freaky, I'll say.
As we came into the valley, the sun finally came out. Off to the south, the dark clouds remained and the valley floor was shrouded in mist, but we were bathed with brightness in the clear air after five days of rain and snow. Everything shimmered as we headed through Fairview, discussing fly patterns and parasitic speculators, the two ideas conflicting in our light banter almost as much as in our hearts.

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