Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

The economics of happiness

Nature, Deer, GDP, Happiness, Economics

Some of my neighbors have gone to great expense to lodge big gray boulders in strategic spots in their yards. While I don't quite understand it, rocks like that being awfully heavy and the farmers in my past having spent a great deal of cursing and time trying to get rid of the same sort of rocks, it looks sort of cool.

And when the kids were little, they'd use the boulders as places to hide or, on lizardy days, to stretch out and grow warm as the sun.

My own yard is a mess. If it weren't for the Creeping Charlie, I'd like it that way. There's a wildness, an up-northy-ness about it, that delights me in ways tightly manicured lawns don't. The garden, not fully put to bed, has a twisted mulberry tree and pleasing uneven dried stalks. In winter you can see the low shed along the lot line, behind the lilacs and locusts and buckthorn. An old wood canoe has rested there some 20 years: we all lust after it.

And then there are my very own moveable, magical boulders. Four sizeable gray-brown masses, two here, two there. You never know exactly where you'll find them.  Or when.

Later on the days they appear, they turn into deer and bolt off. I guess they become boulders again in the maple bog across the tracks, but no one sees them there.

I can't imagine those with more formal landscape architecture get more pleasure from their yards than I do from mine. Though you never know. Three hundred and eight million of us, and we all experience things a little differently.

Still, it seems odd that there's not a single measure in the Gross Domestic Product to account for the value of nature, of a kind and sensible policy that gives enough vacation time to enjoy it, or the happiness that you don't even have to pursue because it's right here.

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