Thursday, December 3, 2009

Polishing the Turd that is Cranberry

Professor Chaos has the cover story in this week's Pittsburgh City Paper.

I don't care how purty a developer talks about "greenways."

When I see a man with a tripod and a theodolite at the edge of my hayfield, I find the key to the gun safe.

My last day on the Graham farm in Cranberry was a day or so after I returned from my Houlie Puppyseed trip to the upper Midwest. I dropped off one foster dog and delivered two puppies to their new owners. Then I came home.

It was also only a few weeks after the death of Mel, which has left a jagged hole in the universe that will never heal over.

I took Pip, Moe, Rosie and Sophia for a walk. Since Rosie was a wee tot, I drove to the coffin plant rather than walk them all up the street and across Rochester Road.

We set down our usual path into the woods, where a few weeks before I'd taken Rosie and all her siblings on a Puppy Outward Bound Adventure.

And then, quite abruptly, there was no woods. No path. Nothing.

A moonscape.

In the distance, a mountain of wood chips.

And a machine into which trees disappeared and wood chips shat forth.

Another jagged hole in the universe.

I pulled out my phone and called Professor Chaos. Between sobs I told him that we needed to start looking for land. Somewhere else. Right now.


  1. It's happening everywhere, as the 'Last Best Places' are chipped, hacked, and destroyed.

    Come to the U.P. Seriously. Or, the BWCA area in northern Minnesota.

    'Things' will howl back at night. Pray for dark night skies and wide open spaces.

  2. Oh, this stuff makes my blood boil.

    As Rodgers puts it, "You're not going to find parcels of land in Cranberry Township that are large enough to have large stands of trees."

    Yeah, because what obese American would want that? Spoken like a true developer.

  3. Cranberry was doomed long before I knew her.

    We spent twelve years watching all those large stands of trees turn into moonscapes, then McMansions.

    Not to mention the cow pastures and cornfields.

    And the scrub places that had been farms, until they were just stupid money waiting to happen for heirs and speculators. Unloved, except by us and the deer and woodchucks and coyotes. And yes, the yahoos on their snowmobiles.

    It was like falling in love with someone who is already dying slowly of an inevitably fatal disease -- and knowing that hope for a cure is forlorn. And knowing that you will never see him in health and wholeness.


    No dogs allowed.

    Reserved fields for league sports. The Dick's Sportsplex. I did not make that up.

    Ski only in clockwise direction. Let's all have fun together.

  4. Oh, God.

    It was also only a few weeks after the death of Mel, which has left a jagged hole in the universe that will never heal over.

    Stop making me cry, Heather. Our bad dog is still only ten months gone.

    Helen's parents used to live out in Saline County, Arkansas, just a little ways away from Pulaski County and its federally-controlled schools (they still run the Little Rock school system, to its great detriment). It has to be the greenest city I've ever been to, with forests growing within the city limits. If you let a lot go long enough, you'll find trees there. It's amazing, really.

    And they're building on everydamnthing.

    It's civilizing (finally, some decent restaurants!) but sad at the same time (wasn't that a stand of pine trees 10 years ago?).


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