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Vanishing Nature

By Roy D. Follendore III

Copyright (c) 2001 by RDFollendoreIII


July 18, 2001

Some of the reasons I chose to move into a rural area was because I wanted to have peace and quite.  It was not just about the serenity though.  It may not seem too important to some, but nature tends to be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  

I also had a family, a great wife who would be raising two little children, and I would be bringing them into a strange new place.  I wanted them to have a sense of what nature was all about.  We were moving from midtown of a large southern city.  I wanted our home to be near the water.  I wanted woods with big trees. I wanted a place that my children could grow up safely in.  I wanted everything in our life to be great. 

I got most of what I wanted.  There were advantages and disadvantages to where I purchased our home.  But my children did grow up safely.  They did find nature in their back yard.  

Like most people, for years I would get up early each morning and would get home in the evening.  The traffic always felt terrible on the way back, until I began to see the forests that had become part of what I thought of as home. On my way each day in the summer, part of this road took me down through a glade.  No matter how hot it was outside, it always felt ten degrees cooler as I drove through there.  The giant trees seemed to create a solid wall of cool air there.  If I choose to get home from a different direction there was that bubbling stream, that sometimes flooded but was mostly a cool place to feel as I drove through.  I would often see deer grazing.

What I did not bargain for when I purchased my home was something that some call progress.  Subdivisions "in the upper $200's" were suddenly being carved out of the virgin woodlands surrounding us.  As time continued to go by, the country road in front of our home became a major state highway.  The gradually noise increased.  They decided to roughen up the surface in order to give the cars more traction in the winter.  Late at night things can still be perfectly quite, but the rush hour has become rush morning and rush afternoons.  

One night a young doe had to be killed with a pistol by a Police Officer on the edge of my property after it was struck by a car.  The policeman wrote a ticket that gave the deer to one of the people who stopped to see what was going on.  The good part was that the deer was no longer suffering and its body did not go to waste like you see sometimes.  The bad part was that the deer were being run out of their habitat and there was no place for them to go.  The highways are simply barriers to wildlife.

Most of the day now the traffic is continuous.   Sometimes the cars are parked in a long column, unable to move.  Frustrated drivers are contained within their immobile vehicles. It is hard for us to get out. The noise level has gradually increased like the Vietnam war on television.  

It must have been decided some time ago by leaders who do not live here that all of this is not important.  Our community evidently needed another eight lane highway to circle our county, even though the highways that go into the cities have never been capable of moving the traffic that is already there.  The giant bull dozers suddenly appeared over night and began knocking down trees with their terrible blades.  One had the nerve to drive them through my yard, knocking down the natural ivy and saplings.  When I protested, about private property, the crew drove off, tearing up the bank.  Then the managers profusely apologized, saying they did not think it was important.  I guess it isn't.

There is no cover for those that once lived in this forest.  Now even those giant oak and birch that once cooled me as I drove home are piled in dry piles awaiting their terrible fate like stacked bodies in some European massacre.  The forests through which a country road once ran, have now become a plain through which millions will pass.  

When I moved here, I arrived with my family.  The animals that were part of our family then have died over the years and are now buried in yard, part of which is now slated to be bulldozed. I can hear the heavy equipment droning now.   

Dust blows, like I once witnessed in the Sahara, obliterating the huge yellow monsters that churn it.  I have never seen dust devils here until last the last few weeks. Cars and humans alike are cloaked gray.  This is immaterial to those who move dirt as a profession.

The glade has vanished and the forest can never recover.  Like me, the Confederate war soldiers that are buried across the road where they fell are now obstacles. 




Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved