19 February, 2016

pave paradise

a two hour walk last night, in the dark. one thing they do right here (well, ok, one of several things they do right) is the minimized light pollution. you can walk along the path and watch the merest suggestion of shadows - vines, branches, leaves, flowers, play along your feet. a subtle carpet of shadow and silver, woven in the most magical of shapes - that of nature. a look at my phone blinds me, then i readjust and i'm back in the shadows.

one thing they most definitely do wrong is that you are never too far off from a major road, making silence an impossibility, or at least an improbability. the ubiquitous hum becomes background to both the birds and the cicadas, and after a while you stop noticing it...much. still, a tapestry of night sound would have been preferable, to go with this tapestry of shadows. aaah, civilization... it's so easy to use what you give but hate you nonetheless.

what i see here is, for the most part, similar to what i see back home: taking land, beautiful land - trees, shrubs, wetlands, hills and dips, and razing it all for the sake of convenience. more grocery stores. more strip malls. more parking lots that lie empty through the night and half the day. more and more parking lots. we are a continent of parking lots, stretching as far as the eye can see and i, for one, am sick to death of it. looking around and seeing this destruction in the name of commerce makes me want to press a button and get off. but where? where do i go? what do i do? besides, last i checked, this planet came without a button...

i am heartily sick of what we are and what we do. i read article after article in my twitter feed that shows we know exactly what we must do - narrow the roads, decrease the speed limit, encourage walking, build protected bike lanes, put parking behind a building instead of the front, reduce parking minimums, plant more trees, get outside, and still the goddamn corporate-driven status quo persists and i feel like i don't know what to do other than shutting down and thinking of something else. mindfulness: you focus on what is, not what should or shouldn't be. you live in the now, small bits of tunnel vision to shut out the noise and ugliness. i try, i work on it. i really, really try, but the fucking reality of what we are doing to our land makes me want to howl.

i pass a sign in the downtown area, only see the first line "a unique blend of...." something about dining and shopping, but in my head, i finish the tag line differently: "a unique blend of corporate whoredom and shoddy architecture - we put twinkling lights on the trees so you can experience what passes for magic in your shallow market-driven life. shut up. buy something - that's happiness."


Tom said...

I feel for you. The thing that amazes me is that some people can still retain a sense of hope for the human race.

Zhoen said...


polish chick said...

mine comes and goes, tom. but when it goes, hooo boy, it leaves me sick. i guess when you're surrounded by familiarity - people, places, etc. it's easier to pretend reality isn't what it is. leaving my home meant leaving my bubble and running right into reality, such as it is.