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In one of the more alarming news stories you probably missed from the great state of Indiana (official motto: “We have a motto!”), holes are forming and disappearing at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Now, officials are quick to tell us these are not like the sinkholes we’ve been seeing on the news that have swallowed houses and—in one of the most tragic events of our young century—several classic Corvettes.  No, these are little holes that are only about a foot to eighteen inches wide—barely big enough in which to lose a small, cherished, family pet—which appear for a day or two and then DISAPPEAR.

Yes, you read that right.  The holes appear in the sand dunes seemingly out of nowhere, and then they fill back in.  If you’re like me, the first thing that comes to mind is a thought like, “What’s for lunch?”  The second thought is a more thoughtful one like, “Sounds like a problem that solves itself.”

Researchers at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which is near the wonderfully-named Indiana town of Michigan City, however, are extremely worried about this phenomenon.  One of the main researchers, Geologist Erin Argyilan, is said to break into tears at the mere thought of these mysterious holes.

She is also said to be seven months pregnant in the article I read.  Now, pardon me for being an insensitive and misogynistic chauvinistic pig for thinking this, but could some of the tears have been caused by the hormones of pregnancy?  I remember when my wife was expecting our first child and—I’m not kidding—once broke down crying because the self-serve line at the grocery store wasn’t open.

Having holes that randomly appear and disappear in one’s landscape, I can see where that might cause some alarm, but tears?  Then again, maybe she’s worried about losing something in one of those holes, something she really cares about, like her car keys or something.  I shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

There is much speculation about what is causing the holes.  These sand dunes apparently cover an area that once had trees, so some people are speculating that, as the trees underneath the sand decay, they eventually collapse and a hole is formed, which then fills up with the blowing and drifting sand.  Living in the Texas panhandle, I can understand the concept of blowing and drifting sand.  I can’t really picture it filling in holes, though.  All the sand that has blown into my back yard these last few days, none of it has filled in the holes the dog dug.  (“Dog dug” is a fun phrase, say it to yourself a few times.  See what I mean?)  No, the sand that blows into my back yard will very carefully cover the one section of the yard that actually has grass.  This way, I have to go out there and rake the sand away from the grass like I’m in some kind of weird golf course, in hopes the grass doesn’t follow the rest of my yard into the great beyond.

But I’m not sure about this concept of trees.  I’ve heard of them, but what are they?  I would call Geologist Erin Argyilan, but I don’t know how long ago the article I read was written and she might be in labor by now and I hate to interrupt her at a time like that.

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About Sam White

Samuel Ben White (“Sam” to his friends) is the author of the national newspaper comic strip “Tuttle’s” (found at www.tuttles.net) and the on-line comic book “Burt & the I.L.S.” (found at www.destinyhelix.com). He is married and has two sons. He serves his community as both a minister at a small church and a chaplain with hospice. In addition to his time travel stories, Sam has also written and published detective novels, a western, three fantasy novels and four works of Christian fiction.

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