Sunday, February 26, 2006

Drowning in our own excess


Getting outside my ordinary routine jolts me into more appreciation of just how rich this country is. I have just returned from a weekend helping a good friend treat her two grandchildren and two friends to ski lessons and outdoor fun. A great time was had by all, at least most of the time, which is probably about the best that can be said of a group of seven and ten year olds.

But my goodness, what a lot of stuff these children have and consider necessary! They came with battery operated DVD players and multiple movies to watch during the drive to the ski area. They own ski clothes including bib overalls, goggles and helmets (understand, these kids ski maybe once a year, if that.) Their grandmother, a canny survivor, offered them multiple choices of dinner and breakfast foods, and made sure they got what they wanted.

I too have my stuff. And I too love having the freedom to drive to the mountains. But the bumper to bumper traffic both up and back made me wonder, how long can we sustain having private vehicles taking so many to the "country"?

I wish these kids all the best, but seen in a global context, the sheer excess of things within whose orbit they live leaves me gasping. The land whose appreciation such a weekend teaches can't take it. The planet can't take it. The other people on the planet won't take it forever. And we keep taking.

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