“With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy.”
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Field of Reams
Ugh. I am in such a terribly grumpy mood this afternoon that has me already feeling unneighborly towards people who aren't even my neighbors yet.
The reason? The field across the street has been sold.
It doesn't surprise me that it was sold, since the "Christian" neighbor who owned is in dire financial straits and has both local businessmen and creditors pressing for payment of his debts. (Advice for the day: If someone gives you his word as a 'Christian,' check his credit before you shake his hand.)
For years, the housing boom was confined to the eastern, coastal side of our county. Now, as people flee the high taxes in the nearby city and follow development up the Interstate, land values here on the western agrarian side are skyrocketing. Farmland is being sold almost as soon as it is listed and everywhere there are little white flags marking lots where future houses will sit.
My dim view of neighbors doesn't spring from general misanthropy, but from the knowledge that people who move to the country from the town tend to bring a town mentality with them. What they might initially find "quaint," - like the sight of working dogs and horses - will quickly get on their nerves and they'll start bitching about noise and flies. Then they'll start seeking to incorporate the rural communities (or run for town council if the area is already incorporated) and propose rules limiting pets, livestock or anything else they decide doesn't fit in their vision of New Suburbia.
If this sounds cynical, it's only because I have too many friends who have seen their rural corners of the world transformed by newcomers who move to the country not to enjoy it, but to change it. It starts with a field being sold and ends with a Wal-Mart down the street because the people now living in the field don't want to drive back into town to buy the crap they need to fill their new houses. Sure, all the development increases the value of rural property, but for people who appreciate peace, quiet and freedom it comes with a decline in quality of life.
Larry and I are already scanning the real estate ads on a daily basis, praying we'll luck into some affordable land somewhere, preferably enough that we will have a natural buffer against the encroaching cookie-cutter houses that will soon fill our side of the county. Hopefully we'll find something so we can continue to live in a rural area that's truly rural in every sense of the word.