Texas Twelve Eighteen
by David Portz
The newspaper published a map of Texas 10,000 years in the future. Yes, a projection. The Gulf had risen more than 170 feet. A very small note under the map said that the analysis did not take into account stores of additional carbon released by forests, soils and permafrost which could “compound the problem.” I believe there are several ways to look at the map.
One way to look at the map is, “at least we’re not Florida.” Florida has some brown bumps on its Panhandle right where it touches Alabama. The rest of the Florida map is azure.
Another way to look at the map is, of course, cartological – “having to do with the contents of charts.” A watery, wavery line lands slightly west of McAllen, Falfurrias, Goliad, Nursery, Rosenburg, the Woodlands, Cleveland, Kountze and Bon Wier. The new Texas coast. Cartologically one sees the seas follow and flood the beds of the rivers. The Neches went loco, Nacogdoches. The Trinity is no longer the domain of Livingston. Down below are Alice, Victoria, Edna, Katy, Winnie and all of Honey Island. Lost are Liberty, Lumberton, Louise. We will never again see the likes of Liverpool, Sebastopol.
Using the “geologic time” way of looking at it, Texas will simply be simply giving back land grabbed since the Pennsylvanian – particles chipped from mountains over 350 million years. All the sand and clay we dig down into, build buildings upon - the coastal plain southeast of Dallas and Austin - is one big boat ramp for canoes of ancient Giants. Time to give it back. This fits with the practical view of many who explain we are simply seeing the end of an Ice Age. “And carbon’s got nothing to do with it, ‘ceptin volcanoes.”
You are thinking to yourself, “but what does this mean to me?”
There’s a Texas way of looking at it: “This is probably just another boon coming to us because we’re Texans.” We were, after all, our own country once. And for 180 years we’ve been our own state. The entire world knows us for our oil, guns, wild pigs and frontier justice. There is no absolutely no reason for us to think there won’t be a Texas ten thousand years hence.
I think we can presume that Texas would still be powerful - politically influential. All of Delaware would be underwater and large parts of Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Did I say South Carolina? South Carolina. Except as portions of Texas must be squandered to house Rhode Islanders, we should still be able to cough up a reliable electorate and occupy the seniority positions in the federal government. Combined with Oklahomans we should still be able to control, for example, environmental policy. In 10,000 years we should still be able to count on carefully cultivated gradualism with regard to alleged science, alleged change. The climate belligerents can still be bottled up with derision. “The Climate Hoax floaks all boax.”
Texans might actually relish the recalibration of our coast. A good thing would be - “there’s plenty of Texas left!” And mineral rich lands also! The University of Texas would be even more well-endowed than it is currently, by virtue of its land grant. It will have merged to become a powerful composite university, absorbing the College of the Mainland, but also Houston Community College and A&M. With Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard bogged down in their respective rivers, U.T. would be “even more preeminent”. It might not be overstating things to say the University of Texas could absorb all knowledge. As Scotland’s universities sponged it in, in the Middle Ages.
With the Space Center swirling in tidal eddies, the spacecraft-launching business will have moved to Abilene. After waving goodbye to the wealthy wending to Mars we could get down to business. Fish farming naturally, but also algae for food from our new coastal waters. Man-made islands of stabilized waste could support official golf resorts. Other created places could support tent cities of refugees from other states, sorted and districted by their voting proclivities. And think of the opportunities for innovation! Every year or so the coast would change places - each year a new stretch of shallow water! More space to research our aqueous technologies. “The Coast is Our Renewable Resource.” Texas is skilled in shallow-water drilling. We’ll recycle dislodged caskets that come afloat!
The tiny Chisos mountain range in Big Bend (renamed the Thank You Chisos) will be plastered with high-rises owned by Texan sand-bag magnates and whatever money-launderers hold sway in Twelve-Eighteen, as Russian and Chinese oligarchs and officials do now. Think of the profits Texans will pocket providing international pied pipers their pied á terres.
I imagine too that Texas’ basic scenic vistas will still be beautiful. There will still be the sun. And nighttime. There will still be stars and planets, the moon, perhaps crowded with life. There will be the color of lapping water, its froth contrasting with the sky. On land, interesting contours may reveal themselves when the winds die down.
Let’s skip to another way of looking at this - that of the paddlers. Expect Twelve-Eighteen to figure in the Golden Age of Sea Kayakers.
In preparation for the coming hey-day it behooves you to develop strong paddling strokes and finally learn how to roll your boat. Let’s consider what else you can do to ready yourself and your species. Some people may accuse me of jumping the gun. I’m just saying, things will go more smoothly if we learn to adapt.
o Flaunt wearable Styrofoam. (“Wear a PFD to Work”)
o Buy a waterbed to get used to floating
o Trench your property to drain into your neighbors’.
o Be the first houseboat in your neighborhood.
o Consider a skiff for your next car.
Twelve Eighteen: much to be buoyant about.
|The author, David Portz