Manufactured Beauty

I just took this picture of the view out my back window as I sit here on the couch and write this post.  Pathetic, huh?

I see brick walls, I see wooden fences, I see tar roofs, I see metal gutters, I see a (plastic?) satellite dish.  Aside from the backdrop of beautiful blue sky, I see not one speck of nature from this view.  Unless you look very closely and notice the sprigs of the redbud tree that we dug up two years ago in Arkansas that is just beginning to bloom.  I grew it in a pot for a the first year, then transplanted it last year, and am ECSTATIC to see that it is alive this year!

That tree is the ONE trace of natural beauty in this man-made landscape.  It was born hundreds of miles away, and now lives here.  I will love it and care for it because it is a precious reminder of home and trees and nature and hills and green, all things I took for granted growing up in The Natural State.

The absence of nature is depressing enough as-is, but added to the fact that where I live, materialism runs rampant, it makes the scene outright disgusting.

I’m not an ascetic or anything.  I like nice things and take pride in the possessions that I have been blessed with.  I like to decorate, and sometimes re-decorate, my home.  I get a perverse thrill from feeling the power of each and every gear while driving my husband’s sports car.  I loooove my “stuff”.

The malcontentedness that seems to prevail in Suburbia is what disturbs me.  It seems to me that very few people truly enjoy their lives because they are constantly striving for more or bigger or better.  Neighbors move not because they have more kids and therefore require more space, but because they want to.  Their 4,000 square-foot house becomes not big enough or good enough for their family of 4 anymore.  Luckily for them, they can buy a brand-new house less than a mile away.  Same zip code, same schools for their children, bigger price tag, (bigger bragging rights?).

I know several people who have done this very thing in the 2-1/2 short years we have lived here.  It saddens me to know that I am surrounded by people who value a new house more than a good neighbor.  They put possessions above relationships.  This kills me.

I dream of living in a place where people improve their home instead of move, of a place where people plant trees to watch them grow instead of to improve resale value, of a place where people value their neighbors instead of the status of their neighborhood.

I realize that I may never have the pleasure of living amongst trees and nature and hills and roads that curve ever again, but I can always hope.  I can call attention to the things I see and maybe, just maybe, find someone else who feels the same.  I’d love to know I’m not completely alone because I haven’t bought into this Generic Suburban Dream where bigger and newer equates to better.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

For now, I’m just going to adhere to the words of Ghandi, who so succinctly said:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

I encourage you to do the same.



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