Death Of A Road
I struggle with change. I get set in my ways and rail when something comes along and stirs the pot. This photo is a good example. It’s actually a picture of a long private driveway that leads to a house that was being built at the very back edge of a large field. The house is (another) McMansion …. like we need more of those in CT …. that sticks out like a sore thumb on what was probably a hay lot for an old defunct farm nearby. That’s an oft repeated scenario around here. A family farm gets passed down through generations until eventually someone gets the brilliant idea that they can make a whole bundle of money if they divvy up the farmland and sell it to developers. Soon the rich and upwardly mobile wanna-live-in-the-country folks snatch up the land and proceed to erect architectural monuments to themselves that look totally out of place on the rural landscape. But I digress ….
As the builders were building this mansion they most likely used this old lane because it was already there. (Farmers tend to drive their tractors along the edge of their hay fields to preserve the integrity of the lot.) A large open field lay directly to the right of the trees that line the dirt lane and the shell of a huge sprawling home was just beginning to take shape at the very back edge of the field. But when I took this picture I could still look down the dirt road and pretend it led someone interesting. I couldn’t see the house from the end of the lane and I could imagine how the beautiful land must have been some fifty years ago. The setting romanced my heart and tickled my memory of the many farms I grew to love around my childhood home. The day I took this picture it was a perfect fall day and although I was running late for a herding lesson, I pulled my car over and quickly fired off a few frames. It was a simple case of shooting a scene that I drove by every Monday.
The months passed and the McMansion grew into the monstrosity it would eventually become. Then one Monday I was shocked to discover the large open field split in two by a long gravel driveway that led straight through the hay field and directly up to the estate. I was mortified. It’s like the driveway screamed, “Look at ME! Look at how BIG our plot is and be sure to make note of how much money we were able to spend on this long, straight driveway that leads to our Really. Big. House!” So much for the quaint old lane that ambled back to the “Country” home. I suspect these new rural transplants were trying to make a statement by cutting the former hay field in two, but all I could think was how wasteful, how distasteful it was. That said, I thought the new settlers would keep the dirt lane intact. I really did. Didn’t they see the charm or appreciate the history of it? No, apparently they did not. They wanted people to ogle their contemporary Ponderosa in all it’s bloated glory as they chug up the long driveway that cuts a gaping swath through their gluttonous plot of land.
Last spring and summer brought an usually high number of windy days, followed by Tropical Storm Irene in September. I watched as several big old trees toppled across the dirt lane. Thinking the country converts would be conscientious about the appearance of their property I just assumed they would (eventually) clean up the lane. They did not. The lane now lays in disarray. Several big trees and large branches clutter the road making it impassable. If abandoned and left to it’s own devices, it’s only a matter of time before the quaint scene you see above reverts to it’s natural woodsy state. And perhaps there’s some poetic justice in that? The little lane that wasn’t wanted and hasn’t been altered by progress gets to change back into what it used to be. I think I can live with that.