Walking down the dirt road

The story about walking home on the dirt road from where the bus dropped us off is hard to explain. Why didn’t the bus drop us off at home? We always said that the road was 0.7 miles. There were a couple of interesting sights along the way. One was a pond with a willow tree. I remember seeing dragonflies there. There was also a swamp that would wash out a culvert every year so that it blocked the road. I wonder how dad got to work when it was closed. I remember the hilly path as we walked home.

I went to only a few parties when I was in school. We were always isolated and far from people. I don’t know why that was. One sister was not receptive to discussing the topic when I brought it up. Maybe it isn’t that uncommon, but I don’t think it helped me. I don’t dwell on that because it will only make me sad.

One time I did go to a Halloween party. I made a pumpkin costume out of chicken wire and papier-mache. I was fully covered with the costume. It only had a slot in the stem to see out of. It was painted orange and green like the great pumpkin. We went to a party where I was ominous and chasing around the radio personality for a while.

I never really ran and was never athletic in school. Being isolated, there wasn’t anyone to play basketball or soccer with. Maybe I was too engrossed with the encyclopedia. I don’t remember being asked. I had a softball glove but never played much… maybe with Dad a few times.

I like playing with water, so I was happy when the spring rains came. The clay soil would have water accumulate below it so that you could make it squish and squirt. I liked making little rivers to move the water around. We didn’t play marbles when the ground was wet.

We lived between two small mountains. The trees must have been pretty in autumn. There were lots of maples, being Vermont. In addition, our house had a maple and an elm tree. The elm tree eventually died from Dutch elm disease. We cut the tree down when it was dead. A cub scout project was to plant some trees. I planted 50 maple trees. We brought the last two with us when we moved to Indiana. The final survivor was moved an additional time when the family left the dairy farm. Now it’s growing where my parents used to live near Kendallville.

It was nice that we had such beauty around the home so that I have some nice memories.

Photo by Marta Wave: Pexels

The Tree

This week I’ve seen news of a lot of really bad weather. Tornadoes, blizzards, floods…. It would be interesting to see an analysis of the costs. The National Centers for Environmental Information have studied the issue. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview introduces some of the issues in performing an analysis. This graph is interesting and it has a cut off of events costing 1 billion or more, so it still ignores many substantial disasters.

Some people scoff that these costs are not serious, that they’re not increasing or that to talk about the cost of climate change as being a threat to the country is ludicrous. I think that is very ostrich-like–if we willfully don’t look at it, it won’t be a problem.

Some countries have higher stakes in the climate. Some of the Pacific island nations can’t survive the sea level going up–they won’t have any land to be a nation over. I remember the glaciers that have shrunken so dramatically in the Rockies. Greenland and the Antarctic are melting too. If you calculate the volume of ice in those two places and divide it by the surface area of the ocean, if even part of them melt, the ocean will flood many places. Eventually, beach front property won’t be a good investment anymore.

A fallen tree crushing the sidewalkBut, more to home, I found some branches on the sidewalk from my tree. I was pretty fortunate. None of them were really big–I could break them into smaller pieces with my knee. My neighbors to the west had more serious problems with their tree last year. The extreme cold killed about 3/4 of the tree and the city cut it down before it hurt someone. The picture isn’t of my tree, but I thought it fit–I’ve been really fortunate and am grateful.