A History Lesson

by Arnold Nelson

I have often wondered what it would be like if you could go back in time and visit the same place in this old world every 20 or 30 years for a period of about 200 or 300 years. This is my idea of what it might be like. I have chosen a place in the Praires of the United States because this is my favorite area to study.

The place is totally fictional. Here is my story of a trip back in time. My first stop to the spot I have chosen. I am standing on a little hill near a stream. There are all kinds of animals running around. Now I am not very good at identifying animals so I am not go to try. It is a very quiet and peaceful scene.

All of a sudden the animals all run and hide. Then I see a great gray cloud off in the distance. Then I hear a loud roar almost like thunder. They I see them there must be thousands of them. It took almost an hour for them all to go past. What I have just witnessed was a heard of Buffalo. There used to be millions of Buffalo roaming the country until white men hunted them almost to extinction.

I have come back to the same place many years later. I look around. I see an Indian village not to far away. I go and talk to the Indians for a while. They tell me the men of the tribe go out and hunt meat. They tell me they are careful not to kill more meat than they can use. When they kill an animal they use everything they can from that animal. They don't waste a thing. They women grow corn and gather berries and nuts. All the food is stored together and each family can take what they need. They share there food with the old and young people of their tribe who cannot go out and gather food themselves.

Some people say the Indians were blood thirsty and savage. I don't see them that way. They did what they had to to protect their land. The Indians admired courage. They devised all sorts of tests (Test we would think of as barbaric and cruel today) To test that courage. The Indians were nomadic. When the food dried up in one spot they moved their village to a new location where food was more plentiful.

I am back again. I see there is a family trying to survive on this land. The Indians are being put into reservations and their land taken away, so they are not much of a threat anymore. The people here are trying to do a little farming and they go out and shoot game for meat and pelts.

There is a town just starting up along the railroad not far from here. I believe they call it Dodge. These homesteaders go into town occasionally to sell pelts and excess produce and buy things they cannot grow or make. It is a hard life for homesteaders. Isolation, cold,and doing without the necessities of life. These people sometimes go for weeks without seeing another human being. I call myself a loner but that is too isolated even for me.

Back on the prairies again. The homesteaders have all gone farther west. This is a ranch now. They have many cattle and need large parcels of land for the cattle to graze. So the pushed the small homesteaders out and took their land. They are called Cattle Barons now and run an empire. Dodge is now a city and is not a safe place to be at night. Cowboys get drunk and start shooting up the city. The Sheriff has his hands full trying to keep the town together. During the summer months ranchers in Texas have cattle drives and run their cattle to Dodge City so they can sell them. The buyers put the cattle in train cars and send them east so easterners can have beef. There is talk about building railroads in Texas if this happens it would stop the need for cattle drives. I wonder what that would do to places like Dodge city. The time of the big ranchers is short, bad winters and government regulations are putting an end to the big ranchers. The country is becoming industrialized

I decide to come back to my spot in the prairies 1 more time, this time about 100 years in the future. I am shocked at what I see. There are rockets taking off every few minutes. the whole area is barren and the air is bad. As I am standing here taking it all in a little old man comes up to me and says please come with me. It is not save here.

So I follow him and we go underground. into his home. He said I am a historian I read in some old books of a man from the future that came to this place many times to check on the changes here. Could you be that man? I said yes I am. Only now I have come to my future to see what will become of the land. He said I will tell you about it if you want. I said yes please.

He brought us some strange drinks and said sit down and I will fill you in. I tasted the drink and said this is good what is it? He said it is made in a lab like most of our food and drink. I don't know what all is in it but it is suppose to be good for you and keep you healthy.

Then he started his story. About 10 years ago the Government banned all motor traffic because of the pollution. Without planes and buses and private vehicles. The only way to get around was underground so they started building bullet railroads. That is what we use now. They can go form Washington D.C. to Los Angeles in about 6 hours. these railroad run anywhere from 75 to 150 feet under the surface.

About 5 years ago they closed all of borders and without planes they could not hold on to Alaska and Hawaii so they were left on their own. Now the U.S. is 48 states again. and no one is aloud to enter or leave the U.S. except from space.

They took the whole prairies and made one big space port out of it. You saw for yourself what happened. As far as the U.S is concerned the rest of the world does not exist. I get reports from secret sources outside the U.S. from time to time. They tell me it is chaos. 3 or 4 groups keep trying to Organize the rest of the world but no one can agree on anything. With the loss of the prairies for farm land the U.S sent up satellites and started farming on them.

There are 7 U.S. satellites up there now. One is kept ready in case the president and congress have to leave in a hurry. they can rule from there. the second is used for research. I have no idea what goes on in there. It is all hush hush. The third is used as an Archive and Library. Fourth, Fifth and Sixth are used for Farming and the seventh is our prison. All of the prisoner from all over the states do their time there.

They have turned a big section of the moon into a ranch and all of our meat comes form there. There is also talk of starting another ranch on Mars now that there is a regular spacecraft schedule there. I was stunned and saddened by all he told me. I was hoping for better things for this old world. I went back to my time vowing to do all I could to change things today so that the future would be a happier place to live.

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