January 23rd, 2020

blackhat

morning writing, politics, depression, chatham

The week has slipped by. Work is intense, Christine and i are both depressed, the weather is (finally) cold. (Not cold to my Ohio colleagues, who expressed a gasp of delight at the thought of our highs in the upper 30s and low 40s.)

Just like with the Kavenaugh hearings, Christine can't look away from the impeachment, and she was more optimistic about this process than i. I'm ... thinking about Tuesday night when i went to a county open house for a "greenway" that may go by our home up at the street. I am generally positive, although after i wonder if any of the consultants have walked along the side of the street. The concerns people have were not surprising. It does underscore the fortressed lives of many. "Why there and don't tell me it was some damn study." It wasn't the questions as the tones of the questions: so much distrust, so much fear. On one hand the rural old guard can't understand why greenways are an amenity (and honestly, i'm not that excited by the distance this goes along roads and not the creek). On the other hand was mr "how are you going to keep it safe!" and i'm struggling to imagine what he's imagining. It sounded like he wanted police patrols or something (as well as lighting, which is something i would get up in arms about).

Later i was trying to find more details about plans for the road i live on. I periodically research the topic, but this time i wanted to take better notes. I continue to worry that it's going to be widened to a four lane monstrosity, excuse me, boulevard, about the time my beech tree might set nuts. I *think* the plan is to try and keep "rural character" in this general area, but plenty of property owners seem to be interested in rural character except for their parcel being subdivided into not rural-ness. I went ahead and planted the beech in the front (because the power company had cut down a dying pine and the gap didn't need to be filled with more sweetgums).

In my search google turned up near-raw survey results from the county general planning process (oops), and i skimmed some of the text responses. "What are the top 3 reasons you choose to live in the county" brought some responses in the "other" that revealed the pain of the farming families faced with all the flux. Farming is historically so tied to place, that questions and reasons that make sense to the home shopper just seem strange. For those respondents, it's not "rural character" that is meaningful. It's the piece of land that is home that is meaningful.

The NY Times has had two articles that also swirl in this space for me - one about a chef who has moved off to a cabin in the woods to forage and serve incredible land based meals to a small party of visitors and another about intentional communities primarily focused on the sustainable and rural living. The chef's wife spoke about being afraid of the white men -- the hunters who have cabins in the same forest as she and her wife. And Christine has that fear here, a fear that being different will trigger intolerance in persons with experience being violent against living things.

A post in the county mailing list alerted us all that two businesses raising funds for a cat sanctuary would now be boycotted because the poster resented that the "crazy cat lady" was why the county didn't have a gun range. (https://chapelboro.com/news/development/range-2a-shutting-permanently-chatham) I think of the sounds of shooting we hear off and on through the fall. Some of it is clearly hunting, but other rhythmic percussive blasts sound like target shooting. Complaints by folks in the pockets of subdivisions on NextDoor seem met with equal amounts of scorn and sympathy.

The tensions and fears and anger and distrust in the county echoes the nation. Add to that the warm warm weeks that keep one aware that the planet is changing.

And now it's time for work.