Saturday, December 8, 2012

White out?

photo of Jackson Meadows white housing in Marine on St. Croix
© harrington
When I drove through Jackson Meadows last spring, I was particularly struck by the monotone of the palette used in the built environment. Please use your imagination to picture the green grass above all white like the field in yesterday's posting. Then tell me how you'd like to deal with that for four or so months each year. If we're determined to develop the countryside in My Minnesota (and we seem to be), then conservation planning and zoning may be the way to go. I am, however, mindful of how much nature avoids monoculture, which is part of what I think I see above. Several books on sustainable development that I've read in the past few years (The Original GreenThe Shape of Green) make the (what should be obvious but isn't always) point that for the built (or natural) environment to be sustainable, humans have to love it. Otherwise, we won't protect or maintain it. I suppose that Jackson Meadows is lovable to those with modernest aesthetics and even more so when the spring flowers enliven the meadows. I just can't imagine spending the winter there in a white out and enjoying it. I'm not sure why, but it reminds me of the apocryphal stories of the old time Minnesota farmers who strung a rope from the house to the barn in the winter so they could find their way during a blizzard.