Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The back door............

Can I tell you what it means to once again live in a house where the back door signifies more than just a way to access one's back yard? In a way, maybe in a disjointed way to others, it signifies where we are as a society to me.

We always hear how the heart of any family home is the kitchen but in today's modern sub-division world through which door do we typically enter our homes? From that front door....historically the door through which formal visitors and those seeking to either gain our business or give us bad news about a soldier sought entrance into our private spaces.

What do you visualize when you hear the words "concrete jungle"? It used to bring to mind a city where the only green you ever saw was in a potted plant or a roof top garden barely glimpsed by anyone not blessed enough to access it or in a "central park". Now, it makes me think of the newer subdivision that are going up. Drive into some of these neighborhoods and all you see is the blacktop of the road, the concrete of the driveways and the garage doors at the top of those driveways. Many of the homes have no green between the street and their front doors at all. It is from that as much as anything else that David and I ran from when we moved out here 5 1/2 years ago.

In way too many of those homes, you drive up the road, and then up the driveway, park and then walk the concrete straight to the front door-past one or two potted plants and then open the door to enter straight into the formal living room. While that used to be the way that others (like those specified above) entered our homes, now everyone we know enters those homes that way.

While walking up that driveway, it sometimes seems that if you were unladylike enough to spit to your left or to your right, you'd be able to hit the houses on either side....are we living in the city or in a sub-division? - it's becoming harder to differentiate between the two.

I think its very sad and part of the reason why we no longer truly socialize with those who live next to us...instead we sometimes confine our socialization to those who are not living "cheek to jowl" with us. It's also part of the reason that a middle school principal once asked my father what wheat made when he saw the field of it planted next to my father's farmhouse in South Carolina. When the extent of your exposure to green is what you see in the produce isle or the home depot garden center, one tends to forget what farmers really produce.

When family and friends come to our house, they drive past fields planted with produce that will soon grace the grocery isles; they enter our driveway through a sea of green, drive past our vegetable gardens and after they park, they walk across a field of wild grasses and edible weeds and then follow a small stone pathway to our back door. They enter our home directly into our kitchen, just as I did back in Ohio....the scents of cooking immediately greet them (on most days.....~~) ....

Just as in my childhood, the front door is reserved for those who don't know us personally....and they are welcomed into the formal area of our home.....but even they pass fields of green and not a mass of ugly concrete....

Its no wonder that as society begins to surround itself with concrete and separates itself further from the realities of where our food comes from that we hear of California farmers being forced out of business in order to save a wee fish, that we want the government to regulate us into being "green" instead of doing it ourselves. Its no wonder that instead of neighbor helping back in the day when a barn raising brought out all the neighbors for food, laughter, hard work and fellowship, that we seek to be charitable by allowing the government to increasingly tax us and call it "compassion" or "empathy" and accuse those of us who oppose it of a lack of compassion and empathy.

We watch the Lion King and glory in our so called understanding of the "circle of life" while at the same time we have forgotten how to provide our own food; we've forgotten how to exercise compassion and charity by our own hand instead of depending upon a government to do it for us....

Forgive me if I appear to be rambling... but my back door and the family that entered into last night and my trip down memory lane yesterday sent me off on this track.....


  1. This is so well written, and so true. I also live in the country, and it's so odd when someone comes to the front door.

  2. I live in a little baby town, and it's the truth!


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