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  1. John Cooper says:

    Even with the population and pollution mentioned straight off, Florida still comes off as a paradise in your essay. The irrepressability of nature is one of South Florida’s most attractive features. Even with all US culture has done to it over the past century–draining the wetlands, paving acre after acre, putting up strip malls and freeways and theme parks, releasing exotic pets from all over the world into the wild to devour the native animals–much of Florida still seems wild. I grew up in Michigan, which is considered a paradise by urban Chicagoans who know it as their summer escape. But wilderness has had a tougher time there. By the 1970s, the only untouched old-growth forest was a tiny patch not far from Detroit. In the 1970s, practically as I watched, the creeks lost their fish and crustaceans as agricultural chemicals ran off into the watersheds. The Great Lakes, of course, once fabulous inland seas rich with a fresh-water ecosystem all their own, are virtually dead—almost empty of life except for fish artificially stocked for sport fishers, the water so clear that shipwrecks a hundred feet below the surface are clearly visible from above. What’s left in Michigan are landscapes, mosquitos, and managed forests that harbor the few species allowed to survive, such as deer and turkey. Enough for some.

    I like what you’ve done with your home. The wide-plank wood floors are unusual in an apartment dwelling and provide an organic backdrop on which to build your particular residence, so respectful of the creative tradition. It looks like an excellent place to think, write, and make music. Congratulations, and kudos.

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    1. mcfeats says:

      That’s very sad to ponder. I’ve never been to Michigan. I see that lead pipes are in the news again, this time in Detroit. We don’t seem to be very good at thinking long term—protecting nature, wildlife, and ourselves.

      I drove near some fires this summer—Colorado and Arizona, not California. A little fire can be good for nature, but not this fire. The one in southwest Colorado was caused by sparks from a train. The train draws tourists. So now a helicopter follows it daily with a tank of water.

      I try to get my students to rethink how we define progress. An advanced civilization is a sustainable civilization. By that definition, we have not been advanced for a long time.

      In any case, thanks for the comments on the hobbit hole. That’s fake wood, but I have to admit they did a good job.

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