May 1, 2021

Dateline – Overland Park, Kansas

Geology in the Ozarks

I have a headache. I don’t usually get such things but I very definitely have a frontal headache tonight which started more or less when I got out of the car at tonight’s Hampton Inn. I think it’s just eye strain from driving all day and a couple of Tylenol and some rest should take care of it without too much difficulty but it is reminding me of how much I don’t like not feeling well, especially when I’m not at home. This last year or so of isolation not only kept me Covid free, but it also kept me away from all of the other viruses and cruds I usually come into contact with so I’ve kind of forgotten what feeling under the weather feels like. As I have gotten older, I’m getting less interested in powering through work when not feeling up to snuff and am much more willing to use a day or two of my eight months of accumulated sick leave.

Today’s drive was uneventful. West from Memphis across Arkansas (typical rural Americana) and then I decided to turn North and drive through the Ozarks. I had been through them once before with Steve on one of our trips when we were tracking down some 19th century branch of his family tree but remembered little about them. What I found most interesting were the outcroppings of sedimentary rock sticking up from placid green hills, a gentle reminder that the central US was once a vast inland sea for many millennia. Things like that are reminders of how relatively unimportant anything going on today is in terms of geologic time. 6,000 years of recorded human history is a blink in the history of the planet. The Ozarks these days bring two cultural touchstones to mind: Joan Hess’ delightful Maggody murder mystery books and the recent Netflix series with Jason Bateman which suggests that rural Arkansas is full of feuding drug cartels.

Descending from the Ozarks into Southern Missouri brought me to Branson where I managed to resist the siren call of theaters featuring Biblical spectaculars, acts from Hee-Haw, and half forgotten comics. I also skipped the jeep tours through the cave, the indoor water parks, and the zip line tours. (I have no idea which of these may actually be in operation during these times of Covid, but the billboards live on). Then on to Springfield, Joplin, and up a Missouri Highway toward Kansas City that apparently passes through a large Amish community as I passed four of their horse carriages and a number of barns with hex signs. Stopping for the night on the outskirts of Kansas City and considering what tomorrow might bring. No matter how you slice it, it’s likely to be the Great Plains.

I looked over Covid coverage this evening to find most of the articles are about the slow down in vaccination rates as the portion of the population seeking vaccine has been accommodated and the portion of the population avoiding vaccine remains resistant. I don’t know how to solve that one and I’m not certain that governmental mandates over our currently divided population are going to be helpful. I think it may start solving itself through the marketplace. As Covid becomes more and more of a preventable disease, the health insurance industry will become less and less interested in paying for its costs in those who are eligible for vaccine but refuse. I suspect we’ll start to see insurance companies requiring surcharges, much as they do with smokers, or having riders to their policies excluding coverage for Covid complications in those who could have been vaccinated. We shall see.

Going to find a bad movie and go blah for the next few hours.

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