Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Price of Progress

Kate and I have been working in the garden, or trying to, between deluges of rain and the following mud puddles. I'm thinking that we'll get the very last seeds and plants in tonight. Hallelujah! Our garden never looks that big until you start planting, you know. You can weed just a bit at a time and eventually get done, only to start over again at the other end, but planting and transplanting, well, it's a race against the weather and the calendar.

The first evening we toured the garden, before it was tilled, we were attacked by Mama Killdeer. We found her beautiful little nest filled with four precious eggs. It is amazing how killdeers make their nests: hollowed out bowls in the ground with a bit of a sandy bottom and tiny pebbles. Unfortunately Mama Killdeer was NOT willing to share her space with a couple of gardeners. Kate brought the eggs home and tried hatching them, though the temperature must not have been right. (I kept wondering what the hey we were going to do with baby killdeers if she did manage to hatch them out....) I hated emptying that nest and would happily have farmed around it if possible. I hope Mama Killdeer built another, somewhere safer. I do know that there are many, many killdeer in the gardens when we go out there.

So what does Mama Killdeer have to do with the price of progress? She is my symbol of all the hundreds of ways that we humans look at the world that God has given us and blithely say, "Move over!" We establish a claim and then proceed to take even more than our fair share. We're incredibly selfish in the way we pursue the acclaimation of natural resources: our native forests, biofuels, water. And then we turn around and waste them.... How many times have I left the computer or TV turned on when I wasn't using it? Or the lights, or water? Do I really need a bright emerald lawn in the middle of a drought? Can I throw on a sweater in the winter and set the thermostat lower? How many plastic bags have I brought home from the store and just thrown out?

Using things up, sure. Growing a crop of trees just for the purpose of making paper or decorating our homes at Christmas, sure. Drilling for oil to heat our homes, sure. But let's be sensible and do it all the least intrusive way possible. But most importantly, on a very personal level, let's each one of us cut down on the waste.

Off again.....