Mud and Superheroes


I laugh at myself, which sounds weird, but it’s a healthy way to hang on to sanity in an insane world. I so want to be a force for good in the world, but I’m a dismal failure as superhero even in my tiny bit of the world

For instance, I loathe the concrete and poisonous asphalt that seals off the earth from the atmosphere, and creates killing fields for countless creatures (which, incidentally, include humans). I hate asphalt so much that when I bought my little house, I tore up half the length of the driveway. I added compost to rehabilitate the starved soil, which now supports living things, like a transplanted conifer spout  that’s nearly three feet high and wide, and of which I am ridiculously proud.

Small conifer pokes through snow showing where asphalt was removed to allow nature to recover.

Prior owners’ drive covered about 25% of this small back lot.

Then this summer, my next-door neighbor hired a contractor. With banging, clanging and roaring machinery, billowing bituminous stink, – I  saw that people will kill for a parking space. What killed me is that nobody has to.

New asphalt extends a driveway, covering up the neighboring backyard.

Neighbor ADDED asphalt beyond the driveway, into their backyard.

There are eco-friendly choices like sand, grass and gravel [more at eHow | Our Everyday Earth]. In light of burgeoning problems of storm-water runoff and urban heat sinks, isn’t it a no-brainer that public planners and community leaders would do the wise thing and promote the public good?  Yeah, funny.

Anyway, mud was the original topic, occasioned by several days of near-40F temperatures melting down the snow and saturating exposed patches of ground. While mud is a harbinger of spring, it’s a dreary lead-in for nature’s return to life. Mud is slippery, it splashes clothing (with unattractive color) and gunks up the tread on footwear.

But the mud got me to thinking about small ways individuals can have a positive impact. I ‘liberated’ a bit of earth from asphalt… only to have an equal area smothered next door. What if I had been a better neighbor? I might have shared ideas, suggested solutions that might have resulted in a net gain for the neighborhood.

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2 thoughts on “Mud and Superheroes

  1. The truth is, your neighbor probably would have gone the asphalt route whether you had shared other solutions with her or not. You may be surprised to find out one day that another neighbor noticed something you did and followed suit. Life works in strange ways sometimes.

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