Have you ever thought of what had to happen for your home to exist? Find out what affect humans have on nature and what building impacts in the natural world.
Yesterday was the first warm day of the season. The just fallen snows had melted into muddy rivers created by the culverts stretching like ant tunnels through the busy byways of the Hudson Valley.
I had some time in the afternoon to go work out in the garden in a pair of overalls and a T-shirt. Donning muck boots and two prong-hoe in hand, I trotted out to the field where I plan to grow this years crops only to find that the spring warmth had brought with it about 6 inches of water laying around the lush green of my lawn.
It’s not an odd occurrence, it happens every year. In fact a major construction project including pipes, drainage ditches and gravel have been added to the lot to ensure that the house would be safe from flooding. Alas there’s only one reason that any of this had to happen in the first place…
A few years ago the lot was divided and sold. Two private roads on either side of the property were built. Unfortunately when the contractors built these roads they neglected to understand the delicate harmony that was a thriving pond, now depleted swamp, sitting smack dab in between them.
When I think about progress, it’s hard to not leave a mark on what ever metaphorical canvas you happen to be working on. Often times I think that humans don’t take into account all of the things that we will affect if we decide to manipulate, and change, the natural world.
So instead of spending my afternoon deciding where my rows will go, plotting my fence, and building my cold beds, I spent 2 1/2 hours re-building what was left of a trickling stream that divides the fields from the barn.
There’s one section of the yard that is in need of some serious improvement, to put it lightly. The water gets up to 8 inches high, completely due to run off that was not adequately addressed before building and construction took place.
The stagnant water will sit here all spring, gathering mosquito larvae, and animals will be confused and start to make their home there. The stagnant water will eventually evaporator, but it will never drained out into the river just beyond the new road because they built it too high and didn’t add any pipes for drainage.
All this construction had a very deep impact on the pond life that was once blooming. The waters overflow, become stagnant, don’t move or breathe as they would normally. The previous owners used to take a boat out and row along the pond, they even claim do a fished there once. The boat has since been dragged up onto shore rotted away and several trees are growing out of it.
We deserve a home, just like the animals do. I wonder though if we could take a little bit more time when creating, developing and manipulating our world to make sure we understand what the effect will be. I think that as a race we are always having to undo our mistakes with more work, our results end up taking more time to fix than the actual progress that we make.
To build these huge culverts, gravel pits, and pipes throughout the yard was in reaction to the private roads being built. Maybe if we hadn’t built these roads none of construction would had happened in the yard.
So I’m left with really one option, when the water starts to pool I ask myself, what is natures course? Is it to build dams, stonewalls, cemented pipes to lead the water elsewhere, or would a simple solution with a little bit of elbow grease get me the same result?
So in reaction to the problem I sought out to find easiest answer. I walked along with the natural gradient of the land and pulled with me my two-pronged hoe allowing the water to find its natural course. So far I’ve watch the lawn dry up a little and paths divert their flow and fall away from the working areas of the yard. Unfortunately I will have to take larger measures for the problem area, the 8 inch deep reservoir that is found itself bumped up next to the newest of the two bordering roads. With no pipes, and no drainage ditches, the only solution here will be to fill up the space with tons of misplaced soil and rock. And who knows where this rock will come from, and what effect it will have been taken from where it was.
It makes me sad that so much has gone neglected. I truly love working in the earth and learning from it. When I physically see the scars from where humans haven’t paid much attention, or done a shoddy job in building something that affects the natural world around it, it makes me think twice, maybe even three times, about what I should be doing and, alternatively, not doing to the land.
With one of my husband’s Buddha’s overlooking all of the hard work we do, I hope that I will find the natural paths to take that will lead to the most harmony and healing for both me and the land I have the privilege to work with.