On certain days the weight of civilization is crushing.
Despite occasional good news, our steady decline into the abyss seems imminent.
Signs of it are everywhere.
Iowa is a manufactured place. The wilderness that once existed here is gone. It was the first thing to go after the Black Hawk War. A few stands of oak-hickory forest remain but not many. Instead we have endless miles of farm fields fenced neatly on the landscape. With the ancient forests so went our dreams.
It’s an ersatz life we created, lived in a wake of environmental destruction. We do the best we can. Row crop fields look dull, almost gray. It feels like we are in end times.
That’s not to say there is no hope of improving our lot. The political will to do so is in remission, gone like big groves of trees that used to live here. New trees could grow yet someone must plant them. It would take more time than is left in my life to restore what used to be. I wait. For what?
Snow lingers on the ground as I plan the gardening season. We have to eat and what we grow is better than what can be bought in retail outlets. The cycle of gardening and harvest inspires hope that our efforts will produce something. We keep at it.
All the while, the gray, predawn sky reminds us of a new day’s potential. Today comes down to what we will do to make the most of it, to get along with others, to be kind.
We do the best we can.