New subdivisions are taking over the forests and fields where I live. I don’t like it.
It seems every time I drive or walk somewhere, there are more and more plywood frames, standing a mere 30 cm apart from each other, calling themselves homes.
Every time I go to these new build areas, another farm has lost the battle against the town council; another homestead has been destroyed, leaving only the frame of stately trees around the perimeter.
It frustrates me that the people driving into their construction zone “country style” home, have no idea what was lost for their 40 year lifespan house, their plywood mansion.
It also frustrates me that sometimes, I can’t recall what the previous home that was destroyed looked like. You’d think I’d remember. But I don’t.
This is what I fear about having lost John. What if I forget things? What if people don’t remember John? The things he said to make us laugh, to make us feel better when we were down, the smiles he gave us just by being.
And what about all of the people who don’t even know he was here?
There is one black and White House that I recall. It was on a, at one time, quiet corner surrounded by pine trees, and rose bushes clung to the fence that joined up with the small shed at the back of the house. It had black shutters, a small porch, and faced west, letting the sunsets bathe it in golden light.
It was lovely.
Eventually, some of the land was lost as a yield ramp was built to accommodate the increase in traffic, then the side lot was reduced to widen the road, and then one day, it was just gone. Not even the rose bushes remained.
Progress is necessary, I suppose, but at what cost? Why so aggressive?
I don’t like losing beautiful things. I’m sure no one likes losing beautiful things, but I wonder how many times we ignore the beauty to make our losses easier to manage. I’m afraid I’ll forget things about John.
I’m afraid in trying to “heal” that I will compartmentalize and store things in a place I’ll forget.
I’m anxious about a lot more things lately, it once very passively as opposed to the obvious reactions that were visible to others. Now , I know what people mean when they say “I’m screaming on the inside”. I absolutely am screaming.
I’m screaming at John, at my memory as it fades in and out, at the dreams I’m not having, at the dreams I am having. I’m screaming because it’s not going away- the loss. It’s not improving, its mutating.
I’m screaming at people because they destroyed the black and white home and who knows what else along with it.
I’m screaming at the people who brought John down.
They can’t forget what they did.
I won’t let them.
One thought on “The black and white house”
Singer-songwriter John Prine has a song that mourns the loss of Paradise, Kentucky to strip-mining from Mr. Peabody’s coal train. He says, “Well they dug through the coal until the land was forsaken, then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.”