Friday, April 23, 2010

Progress vs. Poetry

I've been thinking about Thoreau lately. Rather odd, as I don't live my life by poetry. My life is more of a limerick, truth be told.

Maybe it's because Earth Day just came and went, or maybe it's simply the banging hammer of "progress" outside my window with new homes coming to be and old trees being tossed away, but one quote of Henry David Thoreau's keeps swimming through my thoughts as I go about my day.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

I don't live in the woods per se, but they are mere steps from my home. Mostly I love it here amongst the trees, besides the pollen that rears its ugly head about twice a year. I've discovered the joy of peacefulness in the evening, listening for the owls and (I could swear) a lone whippoorwill as the majestic moon rises. By day I watch blue birds flutter along the fences and a hawk who keeps an eye on us all from the clear skies above. There are a even a pair of tiny downy woodpeckers of whom have danced before me each morning for a week during my daily sojourns.

All of us seem confused of late by the pounding and drilling and mowing going on, though. Each in our own way seem to be asking for answers and I am at a loss for words. At first I was angry. How dare my life be mowed under by more people. Then I realized that I am part of that progress that is attacking the wild's way of life. I moved here. I take up space. I am not free of blame. It saddens me and makes me wonder how hypocritical am I to claim to love Mother Earth and want to help conserve when I too am part of the problem and not the solution.

I could tie myself to a tree. But what good would that do as all the laws have been abided by and the building legal and just? I could scream and yell, but who would hear or care?

What I can do is simply be more aware. What I buy. How I live. Not just talk a good game, but play like I mean it. Learn from my surroundings and live with no regrets. I am hoping that's what Thoreau meant.

Maybe I should just get back to the limericks, they are way more upbeat than I..."There once was a woman named Bright, whose speed was much faster than light...."

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