Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One sided equation

Yesterday I went on one of the most beautiful bike rides of my life. From Olympia to Brooklyn. I got off the beaten path and onto a road that wound through the hills of the area. Eventually the road turned to dirt and it started going up.

I need to take a step back and describe Brooklyn. For decades I have driven to my grandparents house and gone the long way around this massive void where there is nothing. Actually, there isn't 'nothing', that is where Brooklyn is. It just seems that while there are three roads that lead to Brooklyn, only one of them is paved. And the paved road doesn't go toward my grandparents' house. I had always seen the signs to Brooklyn, but never thought much about it since they seem to lead to nowhere. As I'm thinking of riding my bike to my grandparents' house, I found a shortcut through Brooklyn. It just seems that it takes a bunch of logging roads through Brooklyn. Yesterday I went to see how bad the logging roads were.

Pretty soon I'm going to move onto the point that I want to make. On the logging road to Brooklyn, there are no telephone poles, no road signs and only the occasional white post to indicate where the side of the road is. Not only that, but there was virtually no litter. Over the 11 miles to Brooklyn, I found one empty bottle of brake fluid. I'm glad that I wasn't on the road while the logging truck with no brakes was there.

I came to a couple of overlooks and I could look out over miles and miles of hills and not see a single power line, cell tower or anything that appears to be man made. Well, there didn't seem to be anything man made except for vast expanses of clear cuts. Come to think of it, the only reason there were overlooks was because I was in the middle of an area that had recently been clear cut.

I got to thinking about how I found the great beauty in being away from the pollution created by man, but I hardly noticed the devastation in the clear cuts. Looking out over the hills of trees at different stages of growth (or destruction) looked like rolling hills in the Midwest that grow corn and soybeans. You could see the outline of crops being harvested and it made the Midwest seem so small.

As I rode along, I thought of things that are similar to my recognition of the beauty while overlooking the devastation of the clear cut. I thought of finances of most American families. Most people focus on making more money. If we aren't happy or if we don't have everything that you want, it is because we don't make enough money. We look at making more money as the solution. Like on my bike ride, I was originally just looking at the lack of pollution, most people in their finances only look at their lack of resources.

When you take a step back, you can see that maybe it's not all about making money, but rather being content with what you have or changing what you buy (or don't buy) so that you don't have to make as much money. Despite the fact that there were very few things that I saw that looked like pollution, pollution also appeared in the form of things that men tore down. Despite the fact that people are feeling the crunch, they could buy less instead of making more. There is more than one side to each equation, make sure that you see them.


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