It has always been windy in North Dakota, but most places, nobody noticed.
Because nobody was hanging around to notice.
There were few roads, especially in western North Dakota.
That was before fracking was developed. That was before our oil boom.
Now the scoria, baked by nature's burning coal mines, is being piled up.
There are ribbons of pink roadway being built throughout the west.
There are wells and tanks.
There are pipes in the ground that are burning like eternal flames.
There are pipes above the ground.
The old ways survive in the shadow of the new industry.
It can seem subtle in the vastness of the West.
But those of us who have loved this place for our entire lives, notice every change.
The traffic and other nuisances.
We need to post the obvious.
Can a cattle guard at the gate keep a cattle operation secure?
Or are there other dangers?
Every livable space in North Dakota is occupied now, as we drill and pump oil.
Mineral rights are often separate from surface rights. That means farmers and ranchers do not necessarily reap the direct benefit of the oil development.
It sets neighbors apart.
But we do have good jobs for anyone who can work. And all citizens of North Dakota will benefit in some way through the collection of taxes, I suppose.
We want to protect what we have.
It has gotten to the point where only the protected can ignore the changes.
Change is hard as the lone prairie yields energy for a fast paced world.
Unclear though it is, we have found another pot of gold in Greater Dakota.