Today I actually got to do something I haven’t done in awhile (because of the heat, the rain and my hectic life). I sat out on my deck early in the morning, before the neighbors were up. (That would be the ones on the right with the kids and barking dog and the one on the left who loves to crank up his boat in the driveway and play Beach Boy music.)
I could hear the birds and feel the breeze and the grass was wet. My little dog was busy snuffling around exploring trails left by rude squirrels with his nose.
I’m usually pretty social – or at least I’m always surrounded by people. Mostly, I really like people. This morning though, I enjoyed the hushed, gentle sounds and the rare solitude. My happiness was to linger over a cup of coffee, breathe deeply and just BE.
It made me wonder what it would be like if there were no people at all. There would be nothing or no one around to make demands upon me. Would it be this peaceful? If it was, would I be able to appreciate it? Would it even matter?
Maybe that’s the only reason we are here; to appreciate it. Consider this thought. We’ve only got one Earth, so we should take the time to appreciate it. You don’t have to be standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon to know how majestic our world is.
Look around your neighborhood. Is it filled with noise, flashing signs and strip malls? Could it be improved? Has the beauty of the natural world disappeared completely? Does it reflect the way the world was intended? It doesn’t have to be that way. Even shop owners can plant a flower in a clay pot or hang a wind chime.
When my parents lived in New Mexico their town had an ordinance requiring all new construction to be made of adobe brick and landscapers could not plant grass. Why? Because of water restrictions to be sure, but also because locals wanted to preserve the integrity of their ecosystem …and their cultural heritage.
You see, a lot of folks from back East retire there because they’ve “always wanted to live out West” or because the dry desert air is good for their health.
Once they are there, however, they start planting grass – in a climate that does not have the water to support it. They start building Cape Cod houses and log cabins in an area that has never had enough trees for those types of dwellings to develop. Locals have always used mud bricks (adobe) to build their homes.
Pretty soon the scenery changes; the very reason people moved out West disappears. No more adobe homes with swept yards and cactus. Taco Bells spring up and restaurants serving authentic Mexican foods struggle. Quaint little shops go out of business because everyone shops at the Super Walmart down the road.
It’s not progress exactly, but it is a progression. The natural world and all the things that make one place unique from another, merge into a unified blend of vanilla monotony.
Even here in Chesapeake wooded areas are stripped of lovely, mature trees – the undulating ground graded flat and developers build ugly, squat “communities” and give them ironic names like “Green Tree Villas”. How sad!
I know there is still beauty in the world, but it is there in spite of us – not because of anything we’ve done. Usually.
There is an underground movement of people who call themselves “Guerilla Gardeners” who roam about the cities surreptitiously planting flowers, shrubs and trees in blighted areas.
This is the only kind of revolutionary group I’d actually like to join.
In fact, if anyone can help me locate one around here I’d be grateful. Together we could turn the city of Chesapeake into Emerald City. Maybe if I can’t find one, I could start one? Anyone interested?