Sunday, March 23, 2008

Paving Paradise

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don't know what you’ve got
‘Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
I'm not a lunatic environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination. As I write, I have a PowerPoint presentation pending on my computer about how the earth is NOT actually doomed to anthropogenic global warming.

But I'm also balanced. I do believe man has been given a pretty swell planet here (considering the options) and we should be good stewards of its resources. In fact, I once contacted (and heard back from!) conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham about conservation. She was having a hard time watching a lot of trees being ripped down near her house. The sound of them being ripped down, she said, was like the sound of bones being snapped.

Such wreak has come to my neck of the woods. One of the two main roads I take into town used to be very rural, very open farmland with farms, black plank fences, horses or crops, houses...and trees. For some reason, they've begun a widening project to make the road four-lane. Suddenly, not only trees but barns and farms and houses, places that have been static landmarks for more than the fifteen years I've lived here, are disappearing. Massive, aged trees are standing when I drive into town, and toppled when I return. Their bright wooden insides stand out stark against the outer bark, just like the bleached skeleton look Laura Ingraham mentioned. Massive trees with giant fibrous root systems are pulled out. The roots network is taller than me when the tree is on its side.

It makes me identify just a little bit more with J.R.R. Tolkien's Treebeard: "Many of those trees were my friends, creatures I had known from nut and acorn; many had voices of their own that are lost for ever now. And there are waste of stump and bramble where once there were singing groves. ... It must stop!" ... "Knawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning. Destroyers and usurpers!"

I shudder to think what the road will look like if someday I leave and return. Likely, it shall have become an economic strip of businesses and shops, and the rural farmland of my home counties will have disappeared.

Paved over for a parking lot.

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