The fact of progress is written plain and large on the page of history;
but progress is not a law of nature.
The ground gained by one generation may be lost by the next.
Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher
When I drive by this beautiful place I smile, well at least a half smile, not only because it is somewhat beautiful and looks to be the perfect abandoned cabin on a lake but because I remember what it used to be before progress came knocking at its door.
It certainly does look very different from the productive farm it used to be. It has now been reduced to a couple of rundown sheds. It is now lacking the most beautiful white clapboard house with its big old porch and the old gray weathered wooden barn that disappeared one day; in fact, it was knocked down and gone so quickly I missed it. It is now what I have to refer to as a productive part of our huge appetite for more sustainable energy. That is in my years of observation and humble opinion very similar to most progress, it suddenly appears and you never really knew how it got there or that you needed it.
Look closer; oh yes that is not a lake tucked behind on those acres and acres of farmland it is now acres and acres of solar panels tapped into the electric (Hydro) grid making money for some, and supposedly saving all of us money down the line, if you live in Ontario you will understand my hesitation and that word supposedly, we have very expensive Hydro electric rates, here in this province. It is probably true about the savings to come later on but, it fills my mind with many questions. The rays of the sun and reflections of the blue sky bounce off those panels creating the illusion of a beautiful blue sea.
Don’t get me wrong I have no problem at all with solar energy I actually think that it is the responsible way to go and I am all for using land that is not of any use in farming but I do have a problem with covering acres of something someone has labelled non-producing farmland when there are acres and acres of rocky useless land covering so much of this area. How could this have possibly been non-producing farmland when it had sustained many generations of farmers, their families and the people of the towns and villages down the road?
Does it fall under that “non-productive” label now because it is more difficult to work with the big equipment we use today and more than likely too small of acreage to make those big bucks that our farmers really need now-a-days to survive in this agribusiness world? I have no idea. Did it slip through a looph-hole unnoticed because possibly most of us do not really know what is truly productive or unproductive farmland in this world where we can buy everything we need at a grocery store or big box store without even knowing where or how it was produced.
Oh, I remember this farm from the time I was a kid and sitting in the back seat of an old Buick, my Dad driving hungry children to the nearby town to pick up what we needed. I remember that porch and a man out ploughing those very fields. Driving by this one time thriving for many generations farm, where proud generations of families worked extremely hard from dawn to dusk supplying food and contributing to a society that relied on each other and not on big business…. surviving and self-sustaining.
That being said as I look over to my electric oven with a couple of loaves of bread baking, those tantalizing smells waft through the house while working on my computer and am grateful for the progress of this world, wondering if the electric (hydro) power pulsing through my house is partly coming from that once thriving farm making my life easier and I thank the people who found a better way to produce sustainable energy.
What would those hardworking farmers of long ago think of what we have done?
Progress….. Yes, I guess it is…….. But I still have so many questions.