To misquote the late great football coach and Georgia Southern radio man Frank Inman, “boy howdy, time sure flies these days.”
It sure does, coach. Just yesterday it was cold and January (well, not literally yesterday, but you know what I mean). Now it’s 119 degrees and June and people who aren’t used to this heat are having vapors and some are even fleeing back up north.
As for why time is so fleeting nowadays, I have heard a number of educated guesses why. The reasons, offered by better educated humans than me, range from the notion the earth is spinning faster as it gets older and more wobbly to the older you get the more time you’ve wasted and the less you’ve got left to waste. It’s perspective, or something.
In other words, if you’re getting old and chipmunky-ish like me then it’s going to be a downhill sprint til D-Day comes and carts you off to the next adventure. Unless, of course, it’s Friday and there’s a court hearing on impact fees afoot in Pembroke. Time doesn’t fly there.
Time there takes 29 hours to get from 9 a.m. until lunch, and another 11 weeks to go from 2 p.m. until closing time, which is whenever the judge says it is. In the meantime, I don’t know if I understand wobbly earths, largely because I was a liberal arts major and had to take earth algebra to graduate, and almost didn’t anyway. Still, here it is, in a nutshell I copied and pasted from a website at www.livescience.com.
“Humans are responsible for some of the wobble in Earth’s spin. Since 1899, the Earth’s axis of spin has shifted about 34 feet (10.5 meters). Now, research quantifies the reasons why and finds that a third is due to melting ice and rising sea levels, particularly in Greenland — placing the blame on the doorstep of anthropogenic climate change.
“Another third of the wobble is due to land masses expanding upward as the glaciers retreat and lighten their load. The final portion is the fault of the slow churn of the mantle, the viscous middle layer of the planet.”
End of quote and uh-oh. Just when you think future generations will get off lucky by inheriting a treeless, arid globe covered with asphalt, vinyl siding and Chick-fil-As, and one where temperatures average about 90 in the shade year round and water to fill up their plastic water bottles will have to be squeezed out of skinks, it gets worse.
Our great-great-great grandchildren will also inherit a planet that for all we know might suddenly wobble its way to orbiting Uranus. That would probably be bad.
It would be easy to put all the blame on developers because, after all, they’re the ones out there knocking trees down to make room for subdivision after subdivision after subdivision after subdivision, to populate with people we apparently need to move down here and consult us on how we ought to be behaving now that they’re down here to explain things. This is a two-sided coin, however, because there is apparently a demand for it. A big one, judging by all the billboards.
Lest you doubt the impact this is having, Sunday’s Savannah Morning News had a front page story on it explaining that Pooler’s insane growth (that’s what I call it) has denuded Chatham County of a good chunk of its tree canopy, which can’t be a good thing.
What’s more, I’ll suggest, without a single fact to back it up other than my own observation, an argument can be made something similarly bad to trees is happening in other places in the Coastal Empire, including the place I’m writing this from. And what happens when trees go away? We may someday find out.
I will end this with an e-mailed lament from a good friend who bemoans the changes wrought on our landscape. He said he does not want credit for this, so I will leave him out of it. Oh, and it might be semi-PG-13 rated. So, if you’re more offended by the thought of some good old boy knocking bark off trees rather than clear-cutting them, you might want to stop reading here.
Said my friend.
“Too much housing congestion. Some homes are built with only 10 feet between them. Trees all cut down. Massive amounts of asphalt and concrete. Housing areas 10 degrees hotter than wooded areas. Now here is the problem with no trees and houses built so close together. Man can no longer pee off the back porch. Can you imagine how much water could be saved instead of flushing treated drinking water down the toilet? Think about it. We need a movement to return to this old tradition. Also it would keep all the feral cats out of the yard which would help our beautiful birds survive. Plus the copperhead snakes would flee also. Makes sense to me. “
Me too. But I get the feeling sense is like Elvis. It left the building a long time ago.