March 3rd, Back in Vermont
The silence is eerie. After the intensity of Bombay, the endless noise of drivers who rarely remove their hand from their horn, as they literally seem to try and move other cars out of their way, the silence in Vermont is both a refuge and an oddity. In some way I feel as if I have been cast out into the wilderness, isolated from civilization.
The luxury of my home, the vast space, the huge number of possessions, the electronic equipment, is hugely disconcerting. We could comfortable fit some hundreds of people in our house in greater comfort than half the citizens of Bombay. It’s painfully clear how I, we Americans, consume an immensely disproportionate amount of natural resources. Consumption that is blindly unconscious. Blind because it is the norm, what others do. Yet compared to a family living under a plastic tarp of less than 20 square feet, with no running water or electricity, my comfort is slightly sickening.
Too much ain’t enough. I used to see a sign that said that almost every day in New York City. It sat on the roof of the old Lone Star Cafe at Fifth Avenue and 13th Street. How true it is. The endless pursuit of more stuff, of a world filled with artifacts rather than value. How do we stop this madness, or at least slow it down? I fear that its familiarity has made it invisible, has caused us to feel all this stuff is essential. I used to believe I had more than I need, now it seems I have 10 or even 100 times more than I need.
The sun is out. The ground is filled with fresh snow. It’s peaceful and quite depressing.
Sorry, but that’s the way it looks from here.