The coal rush

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This strip mine, no less than an erupting volcano, was a point in the world where geologic time and human time overtly commingled. Ordinarily, the close relationship between the two is masked: human time, full of beepers and board meetings, sirens and Senate caucuses, all happening in microtemporal units that physicists call picoseconds; geologic time, with its forty-six hundred million years, delivering a message that living creatures prefer to return unopened to the sender. In this place, though, geology had come up out of its depths to join the present world, and, as Love would put it, all hell had broken loose. “How people look at it depends on whose ox is being gored,” he said. “If you’re in a brownout, you think it’s great. If you’re downwind, you don’t. Wyoming’s ox is being gored.” When the Bridger operation was zakelijke energie under construction, hundreds of tents and trailers lined most of the five miles of the spur road to the site-an “impact” that ultimately shifted to Rock Springs, thirty miles away, and Superior, and other small towns in the region. Populations doubled during the coal rush, which was close in time to the booms in trona mining and oil. Even after the booms had settled
down, twenty-eight per cent of the people of Wyoming were living in mobile homes. During the construction of Jim Bridger, Rock Springs, especially, became a heavy-duty town, attracting people with no strong attachments elsewhere who came into the country in pickups painted with flames. With its bar fights and prostitutes, it was wild frontier territory, or seemed so to almost everyone but David Love. “Fights were once fights,” he commented. “Now the fight starts and your friends hold you zakelijke energie vergelijken back while you throw insults.” Cars were stripped of anything that would come off. Pushers arrived with every kind of substance that could stun the human brain. A McDonald’s sprang up, of course, decorated with archaic rifles, with plastic cattle brands lighted from the inside, with romantic paintings of Western gunfights-horses rearing under blazing pistols on dusty streets lined with false-fronted stores.

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