pine-trees

The Measure of Wealth

In my hometown, real estate is the only wealth proper to a man. The same is said of oil in the Middle East. Cattle and horses were more valuable than whatever passed for money in cultures that have come and gone.

Land in Myrtle Beach was not always the measure of wealth. At one time, the number of pine trees growing upon the land defined net worth. Naval stores, pine tar and turpentine, equaled money. The land itself was expendable, not worth much without the trees.

Across the southeast, turpentine barons destroyed 130,000,000 acres of primordial forest in less than two hundred years. The method of extracting sap, called “boxing,” drained the long leaf pines and killed them within a few seasons. The amber blood of turpentine trees made a few people rich. When the trees were gone, the land was left; the culture changed. Then arose tobacco and tourism.

The oil barons of today, in concert with industries hungry for oil, are draining away the so called “blood of the Earth.” Of course without oil, the Earth won’t fall over and rot like a pine tree, or maybe it will. Diminishing oil supplies will eventually and drastically change the cultures of the Earth, how remains to be seen. Sooner or later, the oil barons will come for the pool of black blood lying under my hometown.

Reportedly, a vein of oil extends from around Bamburg, South Carolina all the way to the coast and offshore under the ocean. Supposedly, the vein runs right underneath the new Myrtle Beach Commons development, at the old Air Force Base. Who will benefit most from the letting of black blood, if and when it happens?