Dream of:05 March 1998 "No Aesthetics"
Early in the morning, I stepped out the side door of the House in New Boston and looked around me at the hilltop adorned with so many trees. With my father, my mother and my sister, I had spent the night in the House for the first time in many years.
Two other houses (owned by other families) were also atop this same hill. As I now stood beside our House, I could look a little ways down the road and see one of the other houses; the family who lived in the house was sitting beside it. I was surprised to see that an entire wall of the house was missing, so I could look straight inside. Since I had never been in the house, I was curious as to what it looked like inside. The house appeared to consist of one single large windowless room. Three beds sat at the back of the room, and other furniture sat around the rest of the room.
My mother had also stepped out of our House and was standing beside me. She looked young (not more than 40 years old). She seemed chipper and happy, and yelled "Hello" down to the neighbors sitting outside their house. My mother's friendliness toward the neighbors was uncharacteristic because my family had maintained a long feud with the neighbors; we weren't in the habit of talking with them. The neighbors reacted to my mother's greeting as might have been expected – they picked up their chairs and walked back inside their house without saying anything. An automatic door (like a large garage door) began lowering from the ceiling of the neighbor's house to close off the wall. That was the end of our contact with the neighbors.
The four of us – my father, my mother, my sister and I – began walking around among the large trees in front of our House. We all soon noticed that the tranquility of the area was being disturbed by a large truck or bulldozer grinding up the front road which led to the House. Nobody seemed to know what the machine could be, but slowly, I began to have an idea what it was. The details were beginning to return to me. I now recalled that my father had sold all the trees on the hill to a timber company, and that the time had probably arrived for the trees to be cut.
As a result of my father's feud with the neighbors, he had lost his easement rights to use the back road (the best road) to the top of the hill. As a result, over the years, my father had been unable to use the property as he would have liked. Although my father owned almost all the property on the hill (the neighbor's only owned the small lot on which their house was sitting), he had been blocked by his inability to use the back road. Only recently had he decided he would simply sell off the timber on the entire 200 acres. The neighbors – who had had the benefit of living in my father's forest for so long – would wake up one morning and find all the beautiful trees being cut down. It appeared that this was the morning. My suspicions were soon confirmed. The machine which had been lumbering up the hill finally reached the top where we were. It was a large tree-cutting machine, the kind which had two enormous pincher-type blades which would clamp together and cut the big trees. The machine already held one large tree in its maul which it had cut down.
Only now did my sister begin to realize what was happening. Although my father had told me of his selling the timber, he had kept the sale a secret from everyone else. My sister was now almost in a state of shock as she thought about what was going to happen. She apparently had thought she would one day own part of this property, and that she would be able to enjoy the beautiful trees. She even sputtered, "God told me...", and she proceeded to say that God had told her she would someday own this property and be able to enjoy these trees. I thought about how I had thought God had told me things in the past, and those things hadn't panned out. It seemed unfair to receive a promise from God, and then see the promise broken. But it had happened to me before, so I could understand how it could happen to my sister. I flippantly told my sister that God must have been wrong, even though the idea of God's being wrong didn't make any sense to me.
However, I began to empathize with my sister's feelings. Up until now, I had simply accepted that my father would cut down the trees, and I had said nothing in protest. But suddenly the gravity and finality of what he was doing struck home. All the beautiful trees around us would be chopped down, leaving nothing but the bare and bleak stumps to populate the hill. How could my father be so unappreciative of nature? Suddenly feeling angry, I turned to my father and blasted, "I can't believe it. You're going to destroy it. You have no aesthetics."
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