"And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ― Louise Erdrich, Chippewa
This is the season when the walnuts also fall. In the wind of course, but even on a still day watch out when passing under them so as not to have your head knocked by the randomness of one falling right on your head.
The sound as one of those walnuts gathers speed and falls through the branches is one you will stash away in your memory. It is primal. The forest making sure there will be future generations. Almost like they are falling hard and fast enough to self plant into damp soil or harm predators.
When I moved to this piece of the prairie, I planted 50 walnut trees so they could be my retirement. I figured they could feed me those nutritious nuts while I waited for them to grow into maturity until they would be harvested for the board-foot income they would provide.
But now, I rely upon their shade. They have become my friends. When one suffered so badly in the ice storm all those years ago, it pains me to see her injuries even today. In the gully where a dozen were planted, they are helping to 'Johnny Appleseed' walnut trees downstream every time the rains are heavy enough to float them to new homes.
New homes were the topic lately as a developer has made plans to give Miami a lot more homes on very small lots, lots one mature walnut might shade a couple of homes in Lance Windel's new Chisholm Springs neighborhood.
A city creates codes. They aren't born with them. Codes are rules, guidelines for a city to live by and they are created for the sake of the city. Zoning codes can help feed a city, provide guidance and in some cases figure out ways to profit the city by growing the tax-base income by having more taxable properties.
Zoning codes in the future could be examined perhaps amended to give residents who reside in the city a more even playing field so the residents could eye-to eye developers of subdivisions or businesses that might not end up being good neighbors.
Sometimes you are dealt a bad deal. But the deal can be made better when we all begin to pay attention. Sometimes it is the small print the whole time, but absolutely no one takes it off the shelf to get a look at how just regular folks loose power. And when that power loss is realized, a whole community can lose hope, look differently on their City Fathers.
The City Planning and Zoning Commission will vote on the proposed housing development project. All property owners have rights and the city has no power over what an owner does on his property other than the power the state gives the city which relates to public health and safety that is clearly defined within their set of codes.
Relating to regulations will require paying attention to that small print and amending for the future such segments that are not as strongly protective of the health and safety of those who choose to live within the boundaries.
There is a lot of responsibility running a city. There are rules, there are codes serving as guardrails. And within those words lies the protection of her citizens require but also the mechanisms to enable the city to not only operate but to grow.
Look closely at those words. Are you protected? Your health, your safety? Not is your wealth protected, not your property value, as I don't believe either the state or city regulations necessarily have to do that. Living in and downstream of one of the largest Superfund sites and being wedged in by the rising water in our Grand Lake risks your health and safety. These threats to your future, deserve effort.
I thought back to Louise's words and recognized when we are hurt and the apples (walnuts) are falling all around us, when codes are blocking every move, then taste trying, see what flavor effort has, just how sweet knowing you tried every one of them.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim