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February 14th, 2009

scenic roadsides

I love to drive in the countryside. The seasons change, the roadside varies, the fields are filled with forgotten barns and abandoned grain mills, but the ever-lowing living wonder of grazing cattle or the spirited reconnoiter of goats in mid-investigation.

When one drives into the southern California desert, one reaches a point on the Antelope Valley Freeway in which the towns become few and far between. In north Texas, on the other hand, small towns, some half-forgotten, spring up every few miles. This was a place of hamlets and communities long before it was a place of large cities and suburbs. My father posited to me the other night that one problem in this country is that we abandoned this model of living--and I must say that I agree with him.

When one drives any rural highway here, there are the little signs saying "historical marker, one mile". I love to stop at these. They are almost always a church or a cemetary or a remnder of a departed town. In 19850, people moved to this hamlet. In 1880, it had 3 chuches, a school and a general store. It withered away when war came, or cotton went, or living memory passed.

Everywhere you look, you see change--time, seasons, technology, hearts, minds. It's not a bad thing that everything is going to change
for everyone. It's good to imagine what wonderful, sustainable things these changes can bring. We must first withstand some difficult times. But better times can come, if the change is embraced and utilized for good--or so it seems to me.