Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When you care enough to take care

photo of dovetail cornered outbuilding
© harrington
Hi. Thanks for the visit. Many years ago, I read something to the effect that, if the world suffered a major natural or man made catastrophe, we'd be in a lot of trouble trying to replicate our previous evolutionary stages because all the easily mined iron ore had been already. I have my doubts about how many of today's contractors have the skill set needed to restore, repair and rebuild the outbuilding above. I do know where many of us could learn the necessary skills, at the North House Folk School. I can't tell you how much I lust after a writing cabin like the one shown on their web page. I suspect that my youthful, "back to the land," hippie-folk leanings are reasserting themselves. One of the reasons I write this blog is that it forces me to pay attention to what's going on in the world around me. The more I see of the ordinary built environment, the greater the cause for discouragement. The next time you're walking through a neighborhood, particularly in the suburbs, take a hard look and ask yourself, "what here is worth conserving?" Regular readers know that I grew up in Boston, home to the U.S.S. Constitution, "Old Ironsides." That ship is but one of many pieces of our history located in New England that we've found worth preserving. There are houses in New England that are hundreds of years old and still in daily use. How many of our contemporary houses can we expect to serve that long? Have we become too fixated on the cost of our houses more than their value? The last time I checked, which was awhile ago, about two-thirds of the cost of a house with a relatively typical thirty year mortgage was the interest payments. We're paying more for money than for quality housing. More and more, I'm finding that model to be of highly questionable sustainability. But, since the "value" and price of housing always increases, what could possibly go wrong? Everything's returning to "normal" now, right? Right? If we want to create a sustainable world, we have to create one that we care about, preferably one that we love. Otherwise, we won't take care of what we have. Come to think of it, isn't that fundamentally what's wrong with how we treat the world and each other these days? I think we can do better, don't you? Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.