“If you walk across my camera I will flash the world your story.” ― Woody Guthrie
Each summer I’m fortunate enough to spend a weekend in Okema, Oklahoma, the birthplace of Woody Guthrie. It’s a simple town with tremendous people. The faint smell of strawberry malted milkshakes from Sooner’s Drug Store is always in the air. There is something about being in Woody’s birthplace that feels like visiting a chiropractor: as a songwriter, I go to get my spine realigned.
It was here, three years ago, where I first overheard a family talk about “getting 2-3 earthquakes a day” as if it was commonplace. I inquired for more information and they explained to me how fracking had been the only revenue source for many families in the area and how they were beginning to see the negative effects of that. I found myself getting angry as they told me stories about cows dying in the field, water being contaminated, and of course putting their house back together after an earthquake. However, I was confused that this family didn’t seem as angry as I was. Then I heard the grandfather say, “No one should be allowed to buy the earth.” I began to understand that the pain of being voiceless and complicit at the same time overwhelms any other emotion.
This song “Water On Fire” started in that moment. My heart is grateful to finally put it out in the world today with Elmore Magazine.