lest it appear

Sunday, October 14:

Sometimes on nights when the sky is overcast the two hundred foot flare burning waste gases from the coke plant twelve miles downriver  paints the underbelly of the clouds a flickering orange that can be seen from miles away.  When we wander down to the river the hills on the West Virginia side are silhouetted against a burning sky.

From the monastery chapel worshippers at early morning mass can determine the prevailing wind direction by the clouds of steam rising from the evaporating towers belonging to the nuclear power plant thirty miles upriver.

Traffic on the Beautiful river moves in majestic grace, twelve barges sunk low under mountains of coal, shepherded by one conscientious tug.

Here, wide open sky means that a generation ago the stewards of this land gave it over to be strip mined.

Lest, reading our stories, it should appear that our farm is not in the real world.

4 thoughts on “lest it appear

  1. It seems all the more heartbreaking to live closely to the land- to really appreciate it’s subtlety and cycles, and watch this being done to it right next to you.

    I live in the Iron Range of northeastern MN. Beautiful forests and lakes, and then, suddenly, countless acres of scraped-bare land and pit mines crawling with monstrously huge equipment. Throughout the region, what looks like huge hills or even small mountain peaks are actually piles of crushed red granite left by the miners. The balsam and birch are slowly taking over these scars, camouflaging them.

    It seems all the more shocking to see this surrounded by such beautiful land.

    In town, the paper mill takes up several city blocks, with thousands of cords of what used to be verdant forest lying lifeless and stacked, waiting to be fed into the machinery.

    I appreciate technology, drive a gas-powered vehicle, use electricity and paper products. But, faced daily with the consequences of my lifestyle, I find myself thinking very often about my complicity in this system we’ve built to meet our “needs”.

    Now, they want to mine for copper next to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on the northern borders of Minnesota…

      1. Exactly. And the challenge (reward) is being able to take bits of our lives out of the “complicit” heap, and add them to the “solution” pile. I think it’s really easy to feel defeated when looking at the problem as a whole, but the good news that most of us here already know is that it only takes a whole lot of people making a tiny change…then maybe another….

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