Thursday, July 23, 2015

the religion of mowed grass

It is kin to the religion of money.  Which is the most common religious belief there is.

We had an incident with the county highway department and their road crew.  They have the right to, and they need to, clear their right of ways.  Out here their ROW is 30 feet, or 15 feet from the center of the road.  They came with their big tree chewing machines (really, think FernGully), which they have done every year.  They are idiots with these machines but mostly on our property at least they would trim off the tops of trees growing in the fence line and move on.  It was ugly but hey, it's on their ROW and we haven't ever maintained that fence.

This year they went 24 feet from the center and mangled some 10 and 20 year old trees whose job it is to hold our creek bank.  To cut that close to a creek they are supposed to have an EPA permit anyway which I doubt seriously they do.  They are hardwood trees for the most part so if they were cut straight off they would at least coppice and and not die.

We raised holy hell.  That's 9 feet of trespassing and vandalism of our property.  The area supervisor said, "Well *I* didn't do it."  So did the guy back to "clean up" this morning.  Fine guys.  You give me the name and address of the sole operator who did do this and let me go trim his trees for him, what do you say?  What?  No?  That would be criminal you say.  Goose and gander boys, goose and gander.  You, being with the highway department are responsible and right now your job is to set it right by me.  Get busy.

So they did come to "clean it up" as I mentioned.  And this is what "clean it up" means to them:  Bring the big tree chipper and chip up the tree tops they cut down and left laying.

And this is what "clean it up" means to me:  The trees you mangled, cut them off clean so they can coppice out, live, and hold that bank, say you are sorry, put it in writing that you understand that the right of way is 30 feet and that you will never again trim past that point, and show me that EPA permit.

But the interesting points to me in this are these.  1) The boys who did the trimming, they just thought they were doing a bunch of hillbillies who either were too lazy or didn't have the resources to keep up their property to do that.  They were doing us a favor.

And 2) The boys who came to "clean up" really think "cleaning up" is chipper-shredding the "trash".  No concern for the trees, the creek bank, the mail box or the fence.  None.  "What is this crazy thing you are talking about?" their look at me said when I said the trees need to coppice out.  "We are just here to clean up," they said.

Here once again you have the juxtaposition of real vs. appearances.  And it is so stark to me I almost don't have words for it.  How could "cleaning up" mean anything but repairing the environmental damage you caused and then allowing nature to heal?  How could anyone even begin to believe that making it look a little bit neater, more suburban maybe, would be "cleaning up"?

And yet they sincerely do.  People live in appearances:  "What does this look like?" instead of, "What does this do?" or even "What is this?"  And yes, this is a truly bad thing.


jules said...

Boy, I hope you keep after them. That is awful.

CG said...

It is how people act when they live by appearances. I just hope they tell stories about "them crazy people" so they won't do it again. Since we chased the turkey poacher (and then heard the story in the little store shortly after about "those crazy people") we really haven't had any more poachers. They cut two stumps out of about 6 that need it. We'll just go do the rest.

Karen Q said...

Excellent post.