November 6, 2009: Paved Over

Walking down Summer Street a couple of days ago, I noticed a sign for a landscaping company posted next to their latest job: a smallish, side yard covered with brick-sized grey stones!

“That’s not landscaping,” I thought angrily. “That’s paving.”

[FYI: Old-school Somerville landscaping: asphalt your entire yard. New-school, apparently: classy, expensive paving stones.]

In light of all I’m learning about climate change, that so-called home improvement really, really got to me.  But as I continued to walk, I lapsed into my usual thinking pattern: “Those homeowners don’t really understand what’s happening to this planet. if they did, they wouldn’t have dug up all their grass and bushes and covered everything with stones.”

But, I’m wondering, isn’t my life-long pattern of telling myself: If so-and-so were better educated, were more up to date, read the same New Yorker articles I read, etc.etc., he/she would behave differently; isn’t that kind of thing paving over some pretty ugly and harsh realities?  Where does greed, where does rampant selfishness, where does racism, discrimination, where do the endlessly cruel and  mindless things people do to each other—and other the living things—fit with my nice, middle-class, incredibly privileged world view?

Sometimes, as today’s mind-boggling headline re the military psychiatrist killing all those people at Fort Hood reminds me, life asks me to NOT facilely make meaning or excuses, or to search for a rationale.Sometimes life asks me to simply be deeply, deeply sad.

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1 Comment

  1. How about the “shoulds”? This isn’t exactly what you were talking about, but I thought of this blog tonight when I parked in front of the church where I take yoga in West Medford. I was a little bit early, so I was sitting in the car listening to the radio, when another car pulled up behind me. But not quite. She pulled up to about 3/4 of a car space behind me, thus in effect taking up two spaces. I felt so angry at her (another yoga student) that I walked into yoga in a state of rage and could not even meet her eyes as we entered the class together! All because I felt I knew how she “should” have parked.

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