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Twisted Thursday – Nature in the way? We’ll move it!

Twisted Thursday – Nature in the way? We’ll move it! 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Let me preface this by saying I am by no means a tree hugging, granola chewing (hmm, I do like granola though), Whole Foods shopping health nut. For the record I still prefer real  toilet paper, not that sandpaper recycled junk – however, I do firmly believe there is a time for working with nature and working against it.

Let’s face it, we are nothing more than a pimple on the planet’s bottom. We are teeny tiny in the great scheme of things. That being said, we can harm nature around us. No we are not going to destroy the planet… But we do have the potential to make it uninhabitable for the next couple hundred years, which would basically suck for us.

AH! My house is flooded!

A river runs through it

Case in point, my good friend and editor Linda Sickinger owns a house, built back in the times of those who wouldn’t think of trying to change the land around them but rather build a home to suit the land around it, back in the 1800’s. Then in the mid-twentieth century some genius south of their home had the plan to build a dam so that the land south of the dam wouldn’t get flooded. Well, guess what happened with that plan? That’s right! At least once a year Linda and her husband have to pull out a canoe to get groceries because their little house becomes an island. Could be worse, they could need a submarine, but that’s not the point. The point is, we try and mold nature to our whim and nature spits in our face and laughs at us for trying.

New Orleans FloodedThe bayou is a’ growin’

Katrina was a prime example of how nature will basically do whatever the hell it wants, our plans be damned. It breached the levies laid out around the city of New Orleans, forever changing the landscape and many people’s lives.

Stop being cheap!

So, what’s the solution to all of this? Well the Europeans learned a long time ago that it made more sense to work with nature than against it. Take the canals of Paris and Venice for example. Yes, they did move things around a little, but they still allowed the water to flow around. If anything we could use this to our advantage, building passive water wheels (that don’t use dams but rather sit on top of the water using the flow) to generate electricity or pump water elsewhere.

We can build houses and buildings that allow the natural flow of nature around it and perhaps come up with innovative architecture in the process. We are but temporary residents on this planet and it has had a life since long before our time and will continue to long after we are gone.

Cities: The Beautiful and The Ugly

Cities: The Beautiful and The Ugly 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Being from the country and having lived in Columbus, Ohio, not one of the most beautiful cities in the world – especially in the 80’s, I always have had a dismal look on city life. However, having lived in Boston now for about fifteen years, I must admit, the city does have its beauty that others might not see.


The heartbeat of Boston

The city is a world completely created by man, nature pokes its head out here and there but overall, it’s a living breathing beast all it’s own. It has its own heartbeat that beats quite fast during the day and although it slows down at night, it doesn’t really stop like a small town does.

It’s not unusual to be in Boston (or any major city) and see pigeons, hawks and owls. The occasional bat is frequently seen as well as squirrels and raccoons. Nature is a funny thing, no matter how populace a place becomes, there are always signs of nature around.


Walking through the city early in the morning, there is a peace as the sunlight slowly filters through the buildings on the concrete and brick landscape. On rainy days you can sit by the window and watch as people walk by with their umbrellas and the  puddles fill up, creating streams along the pavement, gutters and sidewalks. Green grass takes on a brilliance that is seldom seen.

Boston draped in snow

In the winter as the snow falls, it brings a silence down upon the city like a blanket. Instead of echoing sirens, it is much easier to hear the birds, people talking and the wind blowing. Also, there is a strange beauty to it. Don’t get me wrong, I will always love the country more than the city – I have a strange fear of being around large masses of people, I’ve never liked it (demo-phobic?).

However the city definitely has its own beauty as well. There is also something innately solid to the society of a city. You do not just have a small group of people with a small group of talents. There are tremendous amounts of greatly talented people; from the musicians in the subways to the doctors in the hospital to the actors in the theater district. It is a true honor and privilege to see the culture of a city like Boston.


Beacon HillNothing is more fascinating to me than history, where we have come from, what existed long before I was around. Boston is steeped in a great history dating all the way back before Europeans came to the area. Walking through the brownstones on Beacon Hill you can really feel the history as everything has been so well preserved, gas lamps along the walkways and cobblestone streets. It is all part of the city’s memory and it’s a wonderful thing to explore.


The Night

Boston at nightNight life has a whole new meaning when it comes to the city. I went to the Museum of Science not long ago with my children and we stuck around all day until they closed at 5:00 pm. Well, in December, that basically means night has fallen of course, so we went up to the top floor of the parking garage – where incidentally; they have an observatory where you can see the stars, and we stood looking at the city. From our vantage point we could see trolleys going by on the elevated Green Line near the Museum, Bunker Hill bridge lit up and all of the buildings, it was a beautiful sight. We stood there for a long time, just enjoying the scene.

I think all in all, living in the city has helped me to appreciate the beauty despite the lack of greenery. Don’t get me wrong, there are still the ugly things, poverty, crime and in the dead of summer, sometimes the stench, but overall there is a life in the city that few country people might understand.

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