You can't put a price on beauty.
No, you really can't. Uh-uh.
Vol. 4 issue 13
How y’all been these past 2 weeks? Yes, it’s my near annual pilgrimage to the South to take care of family business and, if I’m lucky, like I was this morning, to drift around in a kayak and do nuthin’ much except watch the fish jump.
Yes, it’s hot. Hotter than blazes, hotter than we’re used to even down here where hot is a way of life. But that’s what happens when things are pushed to the extreme: another extreme has to force itself through so some balance can be restored, since balance is the actual way of life, all life.
Which is why I thought I would check in and talk about the housing wars going on here, and what we might learn from it if we’re wondering how we can stop being at the mercy of all this extreme heat, extreme cold, extreme stupidity, all of it.
I’ll boil it all down, and leave it, because it’s too hot to get heated about anything. What it comes down to is that since land is cheap here — or was before all the covid refugees started running for the hills, and because nobody around here worried much about declaring and enforcing building codes (they should have), it looks like deranged people have been put in charge of lake front and mountain view development.
Either that, or houses are falling out of the sky every which way, quite literally nearly on top of each other, but why God would rain down ugly monster houses on folks is beyond me. I don’t even think the Mormons, who know about these things, could explain this one.
Here’s my stab at it. Rich folks want to snap up the best views PDQ (purdy dern quick), as my late and favorite Aunt Betty used to say, before somebody else who doesn’t deserve that privilege as much as they do, goes and grabs them instead. Rather than waiting until some guidelines are put in place, and some thinking-things-through so that everyone can have the most opportunity to commune with the beauty of nature, houses are popping up higgledy piggledy, kinda like fat brick mushrooms after a summer downpour, and now it doesn’t look pretty, it looks bonkers.
Don’t even think of getting these people going on the Fed’s recent rate increase. Mmm-mmm, no. They’re already hollering and threatening each other in what are supposed to be civil meetings, as it is.
Anyway, from my vantage point, drifting around on the lake, seeing nothing but these dumb, hyper-peaked, misshapen and misaligned chateaux for the nouveaux stateside lords of the manor, towering over the water instead of the old poplars, oaks, sugar maples, and so many other species of trees that once were there housing birds and sheltering deer, it occurred to me that nothing at all in nature says to us humans, “Oh, good. You’re here.”
No, the trees are doing just fine without us. They don’t need a single thing from us. What’s more, when we do show up, they have no judgement whatsoever about who we are and what we do, no matter how special we think we are. They don’t attack us when we show up, and really, no wildlife really does either, only when we’ve taught them to feel provoked and offensive. (I can’t figure for skeeters and ticks, however. They might be what torpedoes my theory.)
But we just go on thinking we’re so damned special, and that is why we are entitled to run roughshod over Nature who, as far as our thinking goes, is only here to serve us. That goes for her beauty, too.
So, that’s the moral of the story: you can’t put a price on beauty.
We might think we can, that we can assign it any kind of market value we want, like we do pretty much everything in our lives, but repeat that process enough and it has nowhere to go but to the extreme. And what is so beautiful about an extreme?
Nothing, so far as I can tell, looking over the extreme results of all the bullshit now crowding the lake.
And here’s another thing.
We’re all stupid to think our current collective existential crisis should be centered around saving the planet. Nature might not really feel like shifting her forms around to cope with all the extremes we’ve accelerated her into having to cope with, but you know, as I said, Nature wasn’t waiting around for us to flex our specialness all over her.
She preceded and will supersede us all.
Our existential crisis might be best resolved if we stopped thinking we deserved special treatment. Just put the hierarchy down and nobody gets hurt. Either way, whether or not we drop our weapons of better-thans and jostling to have more access to resources than the other guy, the planet will deal with itself just fine and dandy.
So, y’all can fight over your damned mushroom villas, but you’re gonna feel PDS (purdy dern stupid) when what you end up facing is a view of the mass extinction and who all knows what else, brought on by the extreme weather, which Nature is gonna use to balance the extreme attempts at controlling her, and all because you didn’t think someone else deserved to see the beauty as much as you did.
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