The world is going to hell, and we are all out there paving the road. This year has proven to be the warmest ever recorded. There are fires and drought, floods and drowned crops, empty pools and underwater beaches. And we stand around complaining about either the wet summer or the dry croplands. There are things we can be doing to help, but talking about it isn’t one of them. So we really do need to pay attention.
We’ve lived in these mountains for nearly a quarter of a century now; much more if you crank in the dozen or so years when we had only weekends and an occasional week here or our previous getaway cabin in the Blue Ridge to the east. We’ve experienced colder summers, dryer springs, deeper snowy winters and faded-color falls, but lately it seems, we are experiencing all the things we hoped to escape by moving here from the city.
More people, it seems, are running away from the environments they have helped make unpleasant, finding country roads preferable to city streets. Our narrow dirt and gravel road dead-ends just two miles from its beginning. For years just two places were occupied full-time. The other half-dozen or so were mostly home-places held onto as hunting camps or family reunion sites. In less than three years we have doubled that number, and now anticipate another increase of 25% within the next year. It’s getting crowded.
I write this half in jest, fully aware that we are among the most fortunate of people, knowing that even ten full-time residents on the road would not really impact our lives beyond having to be more wary of traffic on the road, accepting of increased sounds of other lives being lived. We can live with that. Will we live with the rest of it?
We have made this world what it is: crowded, disturbed, fearsome and frightening at the same time. We have all contributed to the slow, destructive changes that cast doubt on our future as a planet, not just "life as we know it." There is good science that tells us what to expect, and equally good research to indicate solutions (if solutions are indeed possible). We need to respect the science and inspect the solutions and take what steps we can to project a future for those yet to come that will give real meaning to the words "life" and "living" and "tomorrow."
"The future," as Mort Sahl told us a couple of generations ago, "lies ahead."