A Walk Around Town, and Tommy’s Pond

I went for a long walk yesterday, most of it down the main street of my home town.

Over the past twenty or thirty years, my town has aspired to cultivate an air of hoity-toityness. We’re always having arts and crafts festivals, special events on Main Street, etc. This has resulted in higher and higher taxes; and each year, there are more and more businesses shutting down. So my walk took me past quite a few empty store-fronts. We have a whole office building that has yet to have a single tenant. The high taxes create a bad business environment.

One kind of business that we have more and more of, though, is “learning centers.” These are places where you can send your kids to learn the stuff they should have learned in school–reading, English, math, and how to prepare, at the last minute, for the SATs so they can go to collidge and learn about gender and oppression.

We have only four schools in our town, and yet the school budget is higher than all the rest of the municipal expenses put together. With all the money we spend on our schools, why do we need so many learning centers?

Another thing I noticed: there’s always a new “life teacher” hanging out his shingle. These businesses don’t last too long, but when one folds, there’s always another to take its place.

Remember when your family, and your church, taught you “life lessons”? Where has that gone? How good are these life teachers, and what exactly do they teach? And how did the human race get by without them for all those thousands of years? Are we any better, at all, for having them?

I went to the YMCA and had a nice long shower, then finally reached my goal: a little pond, Tommy’s Pond, where my father once taught me how to fish. I could easily throw a softball to someone standing on the opposite end of this pond, but in spite of its small size, the pond this day was full of sunfish, plus a few rather large turtles–including the biggest painted turtle I’ve ever seen.

The fish, the turtles, the snails, and the water weeds don’t need learning centers or life teachers. They are as God made them, and they work. I was glad to spend some time with them.

So much, so very much, has been lost, paved over, replaced by empty buildings and oversized houses whose inhabitants you never see. This one little pond remains.

May the Lord our God protect it.

5 comments on “A Walk Around Town, and Tommy’s Pond

  1. Having grown up on the other side of the Delaware River from you in NJ, I can feel your pain. I would love to look at houses to move back and retire too (15 years down the road), however the little quant towns are all being replaced with exactly as you expressed above. I now feel sad when I head home.

  2. Thankfully, I’m blessed to live in a ‘forever wild’ area with a town park across the street and behind us a huge escarpment that’s a nature preserve. We have so much wildlife here – bunnies, deer, chipmunks, squirrels. The chipmunks have gotten so used to me they come right up on my porch, sit on my foot, look up at me and wait for me to lower my hand filled with peanuts, corn and sunflower seeds. Then they hop on my hand, stuff their cheeks, scurry away to store them and then – back they come for more!

    1. Our 2-year-old granddaughter loves to play in our yard because she sees all God’s creatures. It’s peaceful and calming too.

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