Monday, August 8, 2016

The Last Stand

The Last Farm
On Sunday's I take my son to his therapist in Naperville. The area that surrounds it is all commercial buildings and stores and an industrial park. Nearby is a gathering of large fancy homes that all look like one another. While he was in session I decided to take a walk along a bike path. The bicyclists did not really appreciate a pedestrian on their trial. I did not really care. I was one of two walkers and we were both content to walk the trail.

In a small clearing of trees a saw a barn with farm equipment and a metal structure and a tractor and an old pick up truck. I explored a little more and saw a soybean field. I cannot tell you how large it was as I am not good at eyeballing stuff like that, but it was a small farm. 

It was also the last one. 

While I was snapping a pictures a woman approached me and asked what I was doing. I told her I was taking pictures of what I assumed was her barn area. She asked why. I told her because I thought it was beautiful and compelling the way the whole thing is surrounded by brush and foliage and almost hidden. 

"Didn't always used to be hidden, " she said. She went on to tell me that as the city grew the local and state and federal governments have chipped away at her family's multi generational spread using eminent domain for construction of roads and shopping plazas and homes. Then they went on to pass ordinances of standards that would make their farmhouse, barn, utility structures and equipment "eyesores".  Many other family farms have been removed over the decades and theirs is the last in the area. 

"The irony here," she told me, "is that much of what we make is what they demand from their Whole Foods and goddamned farmers market. Organic fresh produce grown locally. They want what they don't want to see. They desire what they don't want to appreciate. It ain't Monsanto driving me out. Never was. It's suburbanites who want fresh kale with their fancy coffee without having to look at my barn."

I talk to my single friends (of which I am one) and I hear a similar tale told often. 

Over the years they have been reduced and chipped away and told their dreams and their hearts need to be kept hidden. Then they go to the dating sites and see what they are in demand. Kindness, honesty, poetic romanticism, hard working, loyal and passionate. These people claim to want the very things they do not want to see as they continue to diminish the beauty of the person and reduce them. 

The things that are most beautiful that we wish to consumed are often tended carefully in the protective hidden brush of life so they do not have to be exposed to more ridicule and reduction. 

If you feel as if you are the last farm making beauty and love and good things without additives and falsehood....I understand. You are beautiful and you are life and they are wrong. 

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