Bakken: Gehenna on Earth
The New Testament states, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God," Matthew 19:24. This shouldn't dissuade those looking to fill their pockets with loot in the lucrative Western North Dakota oil wells. The choice to live in the deserted, uncivilized, windy, blustery lump of dirt infested with oil traffic known as Bakken merely for profit could only come from someone willing to let their soul go for less than the price of a barrel of oil.
In short, living in Bakken is no day at the beach. Imagine dealing with the traffic of downtown New York City in a tiny farming community with a population of no more than 3,000 locals every day. Now factor in random daily gale force winds, frequent summer dust storms, and blustery cold winters in a lumpy, polluted terrain with about as much wood vegetation as there is liquid on the moon. Add to that hydrogen sulfide odors virtually everywhere you go, even in town, in a highly uncivilized part of the world with technology no more advanced than in third world nations, and where everyone is pretty much competing vigorously for themselves. This is what to expect in the heart of Bakken, a once peaceful farming community turned into a hell on Earth on account of an abundant supply of muck otherwise known as crude oil. Crude indeed!
It goes without saying that the modern day gold rush could not have occurred in a less appealing place to live. And now with the lack of pipeline there to conveniently transport natural gas from well sites, enough flares are burning to make the landscape there resemble an enormous, highly unappetizing birthday cake. Perhaps a premonition of the prophet Isaiah when describing the fires of Gehenna? To its credit, this may be a slightly exaggerated analogy, but if you're looking for a paradise here on Earth Bakken is the last place to consider. While the wealth there may glitter, fools gold glitters no less. And while the wealth is obviously what keeps many people working there, I'd be willing to bet you could get a tanker to go through the hole of a drill pipe before you could get anyone reaping the benefits of Bakken to admit they truly enjoy living there.