There's a lot on my mind. There's always a lot on my mind. I think and I think and I think. And, then I analyze what I've been thinking. I'll even analyze my analysis. Frankly, I drive myself crazy. But for today here's what's been on my mind - change (and how I hate change) and control (and how I feel such a lack of it).
There's a lot of change happening around me. Perhaps not change that directly affects me....and yet I internalize that change and it affects me deeply.
Here in Lancaster County, we've always been known for our farmland and our natural beauty. Growing up in the 70s and 80s I was always surrounded by wide open spaces...farmland, gardens, green yards, long driveways, and neighbors were spread out... not closed in together.
Lancaster County is changing....drastically. Developers are turning farmland in housing developments and strip malls. Land is no longer affordable. Everything ends up being subdivided and used by the rich to make themselves richer.
Here in our town, we've been experiencing the same thing. We used to live on a fairly quiet, country road. But the next road up from us is a fairly major road route which then intersects with the highway. Actually, my husband and my father-in-law remember when this road was really quiet. My husband grew up in the house next door. He can remember sledding down the road in the winter because it was so seldomly traveled My father-in-law grew up in the farm behind us. He can remember when the highway was built and farms were divided to make way for the thoroughfare.
Now, more change is coming. Houses on that main route at the end of our road have been torn down. A strip mall has already been built on the one side. More development is coming on the side that's at the end of our road. My neighbor, Judy, who used to live at the end of our road (on the corner of our road and the main road) passed away last year. Six months later, her house and the house next to hers (belonging to her elderly mother who could no longer live there without Judy's help) were purchased by a developer and torn down.
Talk about depressing! Winter is always a difficult time, but watching machines demolish the house she called home.....a house that had stood probably 100 years...in a day's time overwhelmed and saddened me deeply. The same thing had happened just a couple months earlier to another home with history on the other corner.
Now today, I saw another neighbor lady who takes a walk down the road each and every morning. I was putting Joseph in the van to take him to preschool when she came by. She and I said 'Good Morning' and then she told me she wouldn't be taking her walks on this road much longer. The same developer who bought & demolished the other houses at the end of our road had bought their property as well.
I then saw on Facebook that apparently a Taco Bell is one of the things that going to be built at the end of our road. A Taco Bell! Yup. Let's tear down 100 year old homes to build a Taco Bell!
This is still the view from our back yard...for now. We overlook the farm that my father-in-law grew up on.
It just makes me so angry! And, I feel so helpless! This change is constantly happening all around me. It's pressing in and there's no escaping it. It's working it's way down our road and the little bit of peace and quiet that we have may be stripped away. But as long as there are people with money to buy up more land, and there's money to be made by developing that land, it won't stop.
A couple nights ago I dreamt about my grandparent's old home. It's the one I spent so much time at during my childhood. While their house wasn't actually all that old...it was built in the 50s or 60s, they still had a lot of land that went with it. My grandparents kept three different gardens. On the front side yard was a HUGE garden plot for growing potatoes. In the back yard there was another large garden plot for growing sweet corn, and then a slightly smaller one for growing other vegetables - beans, tomatoes, etc. They also had a long row of raspberry bushes along the back and fruit trees. My grandmother also kept a rather large flower bed in the rear of the house and there were flowers and plants all along the perimeter of the house. A patio framed with brick walls was right off the back of the house. And, the back yard also had a long washline that got a lot of use in the summer when my grandmother hung up everything that she washed. And while they had neighbors on either side of their three acre property, behind them stretched acres....miles actually...of farmland.
It was idyllic. It was beautiful. My childhood memories are tied in intricately with that house and that land. But in the dream that I had, everything had changed. In my dream, people had come in and totally changed the house itself...turning it into something garish and really ugly. It was like a Las Vegas nightclub. So, in my dream, I was upset, but I thought that I'd go outside and at least see something familiar and beloved. And, in my dream, I was horrified to discover that the outside land had been completely subdivided and built up and there was nothing left of what was in my memory.
I was thinking about that dream last night and today and it's literally had me in tears. I miss the quiet and peaceful years of my childhood. I miss my grandparents. I miss that house. I miss the beauty of unspoiled land. (Note: In real life my grandparent's house, while no longer in the family, does still stand much as it did when I was a child. It's been years since I've seen it though).
To know that I have absolutely no control over change that is happening all around me is overwhelming and depressing. My husband says I can't allow circumstances to control my emotions. But, when I see God's beautiful creation destroyed and paved over, it just absolutely hearbreaking. Development spreads like a disease. So, if we someday have our dream of a long lane with an old farmhouse and lots of land around us, it doesn't seem like it will happen in my beloved Lancaster County where my roots run deep and strong. We would have to move somewhere... away from friends and family...where development hasn't taken over yet.
And I feel helpless.