Saturday, June 4, 2016

An apparent glimpse of my inner tree hugger

Every summer my sister and I go gallivanting while she is out of school for the summer (she's a teacher not a student).  Usually we go to the "Ric Rac", a local thrift store, but sometimes we just chat.  We don't care where we go or what we do.  That isn't the focus.  The focus is spending time together.  Yesterday was our first day together for this summer, but instead of being at her house, we were at our parents house.  We left our parents house to go find an estate sale we read about.  This estate sale just happened to be on the road we both grew up on.  We never did find the estate sale, for whatever reason.  In a bout of nostalgia we decided to go see the old property.  The Driveway was still there,  but just barely.  There was even an old newspaper box still standing.  We parked at the top of the drive and decided to see how far we could walk.  There needs to be some explaining here.  We grew up on 19 acres of rural land and the house sat near the back.  Our driveway was 7/10 of a mile long.  Anyway, we started walking.  Nature had all but taken over the property.  It's been about 18 years since my parents sold the land.  Massive pine trees stood in what used to be the cow pasture.  Daddy's pasture fence still stood tall, a testament to his quality work.  We could still make out land marks here and there.  We made it all the way to the bend of the driveway right before the house.  Trees totally blocked what used to be the drive way.  It was just as well.  The old house burned down long ago, after my parents sold the property.  We had no desire to see the remnants.  The property is zoned commercial and for sale again.  We joked about how the siblings should just buy the land and all live on it.  Bring it back to the way it was.  I long to do that.  I really do.  The best thing my parents ever did was move us to that place when we were kids.  As we walked back we noticed tree seedlings scattered all over, some growing up through inches of the gravel driveway.  We hurried back to our parents house and returned with something to dig and some solo cups.  We each took home two seedlings from the property.  They are our link to the past.

We had a great time together, but there was something kinda sad as well.  As we made our way to the estate sale, we got lost in all of the new businesses, shops, etc that had come up and changed the landscape.  Nothing was the same.  We did manage to find our way however.  When we moved to that area as kids there was nothing.  We were just about the only house on the road.  Now the property is zoned commercial to add even more buildings etc.  Now, don't get me wrong, I am not going to espouse government mandates or anything like that to control land use.  That doesn't mean I don't mourn the loss of such beauty only to be replaced by concrete and landscaped grasses.  We feel like we are being "green" by driving a hybrid, buying organic, or using energy saving appliances.  Yet even the more "enlightened" environmentalist get excited over acres of trees plowed down to make room for another Whole Foods or Trader Joes.  They will talk on the cell phones, not considering the trees that were felled to make room for that one cell tower.  My opinion is that there comes a time when we have enough development.  Can we please just look at a piece of land and see it's beauty?  To use it in a way that sustains that beauty?  Personally I don't believe Global Warming is true, but if it is, there is no way we can, as a planet, do anything about it for these very reasons.

Like I said, I am in no way advocating for government mandates.  I believe that less government involved the better.  I am pleading to our better angels to think before we use.  That includes land.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and by recycle I mean find a new use for something you would normally throw away.  In regards to land, look to existing properties if feasible before expanding to untouched.  On an personal level.  Rethink how you use items.   Contrary to today's belief that we are the green generation, look to our ancestors and realize we have a way to go.

   You want to see green?  I will give you some green.  Take a look:

During the depression, Mills realized that women were using flour sacks to make their children's clothes so they began to put pretty prints on them and made the Label able to be washed out.  Now we have paper that could be used in a compost pile, but more than likely ends up in a plastic trash bag in a land fill.

I actually have early memories of the milk man coming to our house.  You left your empty bottles for them to pick up and they left your milk.  Easy recycling.
Items used to be shipped in crates that you could reuse for other things.  Now we have card board that needs to be recycled in some way and we buy the crates at a hip store for decoration.  These are just a few things we used to do.  My mother used to re-use her glass mayonnaise jars for canning.  I still have some in my canning stash and I use them!  My dad used to organize his work shop with glass baby food jars for holding nuts, bolts, etc.  I hear all the time we are a consumer society, but on top of that I believe we are a disposable society.  This article has caused me to rethink my own purchases to minimize waste while still staying in budget.  I will go into that later.

Okay, I am off my soap box (which by the way was a box that used to have soap, but someone used it to stand on and give a speech.  Just sayin)

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