Friday, May 4, 2012

Endangered Meadows

My macro shot of Queen Anne's lace.

As I was walking the dog this morning, we passed a meadow. I was filled with a sense of peace in the near-silence of nature. Chipsy sniffed the grass as I listened to the birds and spied a butterfly flitting through the brush. And then, the peacefulness came to a screeching halt as my mind raced to this meadow's imminent horrible conclusion. I doubt it will exist a year from now. Even as I enjoyed the walk past it, I was on a paved path with a new subdivision of houses behind me. The meadow doesn't stand a chance.

As we continued down the path, I recalled an interview I did for the newspaper five years ago. I was assigned advertorials for a special issue and interviewed local businesses, writing 750-word stories behind their businesses and the people who owned and worked there. I enjoyed almost all of these assignments, with one strong exception: an interview I did with a local developer.

The man was nice enough. In fact, I almost admired his passion and enthusiasm for his job. But I strongly objected to what he was doing and the vision he had for our community. He pulled out blueprints and land surveys and animatedly took me through them, showing me the proposed plans for a new strip mall, a Walgreens, and a gas station on the corners of what was then a country road. He talked about the revenue this would bring in taxes, and the need for widening roads it would entail. Those developments would fund other road repair and improvements that our township needed. He truly felt he was doing a good thing for our community. He thought he was helping.

But all I could envision was another parking lot where there was currently a meadow. All I could see was another neighborhood of cookie-cutter houses stacked like dominoes down a street with no trees. All I could think of was all the brand new strip malls and office buildings sitting empty. Why not let new businesses occupy those and leave the undeveloped land as country?

It was the hardest interview I'd ever done. I wanted to argue. I wanted to stamp my feet. One thing I did not want to do was promote his work in a positive manner. But I had to. I was there to do a job, just like he was. So I did my job, just not as enthusiastically as he did his, and was not surprised when I saw bulldozers at that intersection months later.

1 comment:

  1. Aw…

    Honestly, I think that need to be removed from the story is part of why I never really loved journalism. Like, I did it, and I was good at it, but I never enjoyed it as much as my creative writing, because I couldn't put all of myself into it.

    (Note: I'm sure not every journalist feels this way. Furthermore you can make an argument that journalism is far more important in creative writing. I'm not trying to knock journalism, just saying how I felt about it.)

    By the way, LOVE the photo.