Of to behold, but, The foothills of the
Of Oak Stumps and Oil PumpsThe Great Sierra Nevadas and Kern County are two strikingly different faces of California. The Sierra Nevadas, a natural refuge for a sizeable number of California’s wildlife, houses opportunities for harvesting lumber, a spiritual place to camp or hike on, and simply as an aesthetic marvel in contrast to LA’s bustling city streets. Kern County’s industrial benefits come from Black Gold, oil. The Kern River discovery started an oil boom, and a forest of wooden derricks sprang up overnight.
Kern County resembles a dry rocky land. A noticeable lack of movement except for a thousand oil pumps bowing incessantly like Buddhist monks in a trance of prayer. These two places are similar in that they are resource-full and beauties to behold, but, The foothills of the Sierra Nevadas outweighs Kern County through its natural majesty, its beauty; Kern County on the other hand, has more financial worth because of its rich oil deposits which give it its industrial feel.The inhabitants of the Sierra Nevadas are inspired to live in a nature filled environment, away from busy city streets and bright neon lights. The Great Sierra’s geography outlines its beauty by being surrounded with a dry, hardwood conifer forest, drought-resistant shrubs and bushes in the canyons; as is described by Gary Snyder in “Cultivating Wilderness” (Snyder 256). This place brings a feeling of growth and provides agricultural resources. Living in such an environment with a variety of flora and fauna could provide an escape from the all the noise and pollution urban life has to offer.
People who live in Kern County are encouraged to take part in the opportunity to become one of the workforces that keeps the place’s gears lubed and turning. Having rich natural resources like cotton farms and oil, Kern County offers numerous jobs as is depicted by James Houston in his essay “In Search of Oildorado” (Houston 278). Oil derricks and cotton farms need a labor force to harvest these natural resources. The populace of the Sierra Nevadas is inspired to preserve the beauty of its natural resources. The people who live in this place are almost compelled to respect and preserve such a landmark. As Snyder comments: “I trimmed the stump on a black oak that had fallen and counted the rings: more than three hundred years. There were still lots of standing oaks that big around” (Snyder 257).
Reading this, Imagining myself being surrounded by trees that were three centuries old, I had a feeling of responsibility and of reverence. I did not feel obligated to take care of such a place; I simply felt that I wanted to. The common goal of the population of Kern County is to ensure economic stability and growth. Having such rich oil deposits, Kern County was a beacon of light to everyone who wanted to take a part in harvesting Black Gold.
At first, prospectors did not seem to be interested in the county’s oil deposits because of the difficulty and risks involved. According to James D. Houston, Kern County’s oil deposits used to be unattractive due to being too deep. But the recent skyrocketing of the price for crude oil has influenced buyers to invest (Houston 278). Necessity it seems, overrules all. And having more oil pumps constructed means more jobs to fill and more money coming in.
The populaces of the two places have similarities in that they value the land greatly for the Great Sierra’s natural beauty and Kern County’s resource-full land. Inhabitants of the Sierra Nevadas strive to take care of the forest and its wildlife to preserve it for future generations so that they may appreciate such a marvelous spectacle. Kern County’s peoples write songs of celebration in acclaim to a land that provides so much economic opportunities. Both places are given their due importance because of how much these lands impact the lives of the people. Although different in scenery and purpose, these two places have created a sense of place within the peoples psyche.
Works CitedHouston, James D. “In Search Of Oildorado” California Dreams and Realities. Ed. SoniaMaasik and Jack Solomon. Boston: Bedford/ ST Martin’s, 2005.
274-289.Snyder, Gary. “Cultivating Wildness.” California Dreams and Realities.
Ed. SoniaMaasik and Jack Solomon. Boston: Bedford/ ST Martin’s, 2005. 256-262.