Outgrown (Written April 8, 2019)
Here, it was, there were rolling fields,
And wide horizons open at every turn,
There was nothing to stop the glorious sun
When its dawning light would burn.
The sky was wide, an open embrace,
The air was clear, the wind blew free.
Houses were homes and people were neighbors-
What a welcome place this used to be!
Now the horizon is choked with cutout houses,
The wind’s song drowned out by the radio,
The people here are strangers now, too:
My hometown outgrown by this place I don’t know.
I was walking around my hometown today and realizing how much it is changing. When I was young this town was so small that it wasn’t even technically a town, but rather a state designated location. In the past decade, though, this little town has grown to ten times the size it was. When I was a kid it was a place where you could spread your wings, but now it just feels like you are always rubbing elbows.
We used to walk across the fields to get from our house to the little town. I loved stopping in the middle of the field to sit on this one little mound of dirt and watch the sparse wild flowers sway in the breeze, way off into the horizon. During the winter we would stop as we crossed the field and lay down among the bird tracks so we could watch the chickadees flying in the falling snow. That field is now a housing development- cardboard cutout houses, ugly and repetitive, without any personality or charm. Suburbia, it seems, is seeping in. Wildflowers blowing in unfettered breezes, framed on the open horizon, have no hope in the face of growth of industry.
I probably shouldn’t be quite so bitter about it all, but I am. It’s hard to watch it all change. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so heartless. It isn’t an organic sort of growth going on here. It’s the sort of growth that comes from people wanting somewhere cheap to sleep that is near enough to the city that they can drive to work, but not so near that it is expensive to live there. I don’t want this caring, comforting, welcoming town to become a place that is overrun by people who don’t care at all where they live or who they live with, so long as it is convenient. I don’t want to see this place overcome with mere houses, where there have always been homes.
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