Mowed Down

I work so hard to provide an environment that supports the miracles of nature  and then bam it is butchered. My entire yard – front, side and back hill has been seeded with Michigan wild flowers and grasses. We have also planted bushes to attract butterflies as they migrate.  An expensive water system has been installed to nourish them. It is not only a joy for my family but the neighborhood. Several families have put wildflower patches in their yard.

Yesterday the county felt it was necessary to mow a six-foot path across the front of my yard to improve the line of sight for drivers. It was not only my yard but the entire neighborhood. I live in what I would call a closed neighborhood…..only one way in or out. The roads are used by homeowners and their occasional guests. I have exactly four drivers that pass my house on the way to their homes and don’t hold your breath waiting to see them drive by. I have never known there to have been an accident on the neighborhood roads unless ice was involved and at that time of year we are lucky to get the roads plowed let alone an extra six-foot line of sight at the side of the road. There was no notice that this was going to happen….the most common method of the government achieving what it wants and what it knows its constituents may not be pleased with. A neighbor, having lived in the area for eighteen years  never remembers this service being given to the neighborhood. He actually mows a twelve-inch path next to the roads with his riding mower avoiding our yard as he respects our culture.

So what is the big deal?  The big deal is that I have a strong spiritual belief and connection to the natural world. It is my belief that I am to be a steward of nature.  A  book I read from time to time and have out again after this experience is, “The Green Bible”.  This Bible highlights in green all the teaching about protecting, respecting and enjoying nature.

I have been mocked for my beliefs as all believers in this world have. For me, most people find me ridiculous. So be it. My favorite saying is, ” What other people think of you is none of your business.” Just love it.

So what really happened yesterday?  My milkweed was mowed down.  Milkweed the life blood of the monarch butterfly. The bees that love to pollinate my flowers were killed. Oh the buzzing as you walk down the driveway is wonderful. These same bees pollinate the apples and grapes next door. Homes have been lost for wildlife. Some of the animals I have observed living among or walking through the wildflowers are bees, butterflies, snakes, chipmunks, rabbits, song birds, deer, crows and ducks.  I am sure there are more that are clever enough to remain unseen. For me these lives are important and in many ways support my life….remember the food web from elementary school?

I would like people to take and minute and think.  Is the action you want to take necessary, a high priority for safety, or disrespectful? Rather than spending time, money and employees on mowing down ecosystems could the potholes in the roads in town be filled so that our citizens are not unnecessarily supporting body shops? Could lumpy roads be repaired? Could money be spent on low-income housing so our city workers can afford to live here? This list could go on and on.

It is my hope this area will fill in again and become what it was. The yard is just beginning to bloom and amaze. The unexpected mowing has made me very very sad and a bit defeated. As the flowers I will rally.

A few quotes from my favorite environmentalist, Chief Seattle:

  1. Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth. This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. One thing we know: our god is also your god. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.
  2. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children

All I ask is that people take time to think, then think again and again. We live in an area of supreme natural beauty….the Great Lakes – we are the fortunate.