There used to be a house next door. It was the most attractive house on our street: a stately Colonial fronted by a long wrap around driveway on a big lot littered with old trees. I always thought of it as the centerpiece of our neighborhood, steeped in a long history. It was the manor house and all of our houses merely outbuildings. It was the leading lady and all of our houses merely supporting characters.

As of last week that house is no more. It was sold to a developer who decided it would be better to subdivide the lot and build a bunch of cheap boring new houses with no history on the site. We banded together as a neighborhood to fight him. Five Planning Board meetings and almost two years later we lost the battle. The house was demolished in two days.

Some people would make some Buddhist point about the impermanence of all things1. But I never was a very good Buddhist, even when I was trying to be one. Other people would look at the price they want for these new houses and tell me the wonders they will do for my own property value. While I'm certainly not going to complain about that, it misses the point.

Actually, I don't know that I even have a point to make here. Something beautiful was destroyed and I'm upset about it. To remain silent in the face of such events, I think, only encourages those who perpetrate them.

Appreciate beauty. Fight for beauty. Or the ugliness wins.

  1. In a way, they'd be right. Nothing lasts forever. The universe itself will eventually cease to exist. A fact I contemplate far more than is probably healthy. 

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