Last night I worked late – until almost 9:00. The huge plant I work at was almost abandoned. As I left the developed area and entered a field, I had to stop the car. A deer was in the road with 5-6 others just off the side. They sauntered off in to the field, not rushing in the least at the sight of a two ton vehicle.
The deer are clearly smart. While there may be some chemical hazards here (but really, where within 100 miles of here is free of that?!), there’s one thing that is a huge advantage for them. Firearms are prohibited on the site. And so, for generations, deer have been living here.
Meanwhile above it all, when the weather gets cooler, we see the approach of literally dozens of turkey vultures above the vessels, reactors, and towers. Many of these vessels operate at very high temperatures – 200-300F. The result is a set of nice thermal elevators they can rest on, watching and waiting for one of the deer to pass.
Along the paths between buildings, as winter ends, you’ll see many little burrows. To my northern eye they look like molehills. One day I got out my phone, turned on the flashlight and peeked inside the hole. There staring back at me was a crawfish.
In the ditch after a rain, a snowy egret fishes next to the road, not even looking up when a tanker truck drives by.
And sometimes, on rare occasions that I’ve not yet been lucky enough to experience, it will rain a lot. The Mississipi river just across the street rises a little, and the alligators decide to wander. They’ve been known to stop in the middle of the main road in the plant and just wait. At their size they’re not particularly worried about anything so cars and trucks just have to stop and wait until the “alligator wrangler” is called to pick them up and move them back to the river.
I’ve made no secret of my lack of fondness for some of the people here, but there is still beauty to be found – even in the middle of what might seem to be the most unlikely of places.