Director of Intent

April 22, 2009

Anthonomus grandis

It's been years since I last thought of the Pima cotton fields that surrounded my adolescent home. I used to run up and down the freshly planted rows as the slow flood of irrigation water would erase the cracked clay underneath.

The guys hoeing the weeds throughout the summer were always willing to crack a smile at me, even though I knew their backs were feeling otherwise. Those smiles grew even larger as cases of beer were cracked open under cottonwoods that lined the larger irrigation canals.

Massive cotton strippers would rumble up and down each acre during late autumn, shedding enough of the harvest that I could collect enough fiber to pad a harem. Driving behind the cotton trucks en route to a gin was always an experience, as the boll remnants never stayed tied down and were always flying at your windshield. It was my version of traveling through hyperspace.

Harvested cottonseed provided a great landing spot for jumping off of ludicrous heights. Like the fabled lemmings, friends and I would leap from granary ladders into mountains of cottonseed that were awaiting transport to a life as part of a dairy cow's diet. I can't remember a softer landing.

After taking a glance at the current state of cotton farming in the Rio Grande Valley, I am saddened to see that the industry is battered at the moment. Cheap oil, and thus synthetic fibers, combined with a three year-old drought are yielding the smallest cotton crop observed since records began to be collected in the 1920's.

Maybe those acres I thought about earlier are covered in grain, and some empty beer cans are glistening underneath a cottonwood.