An Amarillo photographer's personal journey through the Dust Bowl- with past and present eyes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dust storms and dead cows ...

Photos by Steve Douglass -
Excerpts from The Worst Hard Time - Timothy Egan (C) Timothy Egan 
Reproduced with permission: Houghton Mifflin,Company 

PAGE 121: The dust storm that blew up from Amarillo at the start of 1932 was treated as a freak of nature, a High Plains anomaly. In March the wind was often at its most fierce, and when it blew in the late winter of 1932, it picked up the earth in No Man's Land and scattered it all over the High Plains. These storms were shorter and smaller that the big duster of January, but they were similar in other ways: black, rolling, sharp, and cutting on the skin. The cows bawled when a duster rolled in and hit like the swipe from the edges of a big file. The dirt got in their eyes and blinded them, got in their noses and mouths, matted up their hide and caused skin rashes and infections. 

PAGE 145: The government men came to the high Plains in the second year of the new president's term with a plan to kill as many farm animals as possible. There was not a buyer in the hemisphere for the wretched-looking cattle stumbling across the prairie with sores, and their insides all bound up with dust. It made silent men cry to see herbivores on what had been the greatest grassland under the heavens dying cruel deaths from the lifeless,cursed turf. A cow could only live so long chewing salted tumbleweeds and swallowing mud.

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