Scott's View: A Walk With Michael
By Scott Anthony
The 40 acre woods below my house are torn asunder. Developers have brought in the heavy equipment and where there was once many tall Alders, graceful Red Cedars and hundred year old Maples there will soon be more Euromanses; six-hundred-thousand dollar cookier-cutter boxes with fake rocks on the front and transplanted foliage in the manicured green-rolled sod.
For now, it is in the crushed rock phase and in order to pay tribute to the fallen trees, some of which were there before this country was a country, I decided to go take a look.
Mrs. Anthony and I leashed up the small beasts and together we made our way down the newly paved asphalt access. The dogs hopped neatly over the huge, formerly majestic firs that large machines had dragged across the newly graveled lane to block cars. The once-darkened woods that smelled green and renewing were now opened and reconstructed to include a number of retention ponds with spur roads to what will be new neighbors, new neighborhoods. Some kids with bikes were sitting on a fallen log. “What do you guys think about all this,” I asked, hoping to get a bit of the mindset of the elementary school set on the nature of the expanding man. “It sucks!” one freckled mop-top huffed. “These were OUR woods and now it’s just gonna be more houses.” Surprised at the outburst, I’d really figured them more for a ‘I dunno’. I felt the guilt of being a responsible adult, so, still trying to keep it positive I said, “Don’t you think you’ll make some new friends here?” Another helmeted kid agreed, “There’s gonna be lots of people here..my mom said, like eleven-hunnert houses!”
While his buddies dug into helmet-boy for the wild number, I let my dog tug me off to catch up with Mrs. Anthony and her dog and around the corner the hillside opened up to a view of the valley below. On a nearby cliff of new dirt, a red-haired kid of about eleven years with glasses on was scritching along the crust in a pair of flip-flops while clinging precariously onto a silt curtain installed by the tractormen. “Hang on there, Sport!” I yelled up to him and he kept silent, his back toward me as he made his way to a safe dropping point. With a twist and a deft little hop he landed in a puff of dust and walked right up to me, “I’m Michael..did you see this big tree over here, there was a giant stump in that pond and the machine they used was even bigger and…” he never stopped talking for the next thirty minutes of my walk.
The dog kept tugging, so I began walking away and Red-head followed me, kicking up dusty twigs with his rubber sandals. “They let you wear those in school?” I pried. “OH yeah.. I heard about that on TV..sure, I can wear them anytime I want!” I wondered what would happen if he had to run out of a school building for a fire drill. “I can run FAST in these…watch!” and off he went, slapping his way across the new dirt road like a three and a half foot tall, red tornado. A moment later, he ran past me to jump off of a log and said, ‘I eat alotta sugar!’ which made me laugh out loud.
When he stopped to wait for me, I figured I ask him the same thing I asked the bicycle gang. “What do think about all this construction, Michael?” He threw a rock at a stump and did not seem as mortified as the previous boys, “It’ll be a good place to see the fireworks from!” I pushed him a little, “Do you think there’ll be more traffic?” Michael enlightened me, “The worker guys said that there’s gonna be a bunch of condo’s over there and a road, well, a little sort of road will go down to the valley road.” He’d done his homework, so I asked about privacy. “See that house down there,Mike?.. I wonder what those people think, when they moved here a long time ago this was nice and private. Do you think they’ll miss the quiet?” Michael grinned up at me and said.. “Well, actually…that’s MY house…and, and, my dad says..maybe… we’re gonna move.”