Guilt and the Homestead Mentality

This past week I was in Dayton, Ohio for my “day job.” After I landed at the airport I had to drive about 13 miles to the center of Dayton where my company’s office is.

As I was driving I past what seemed to be about a 60-year old farm in less than perfect condition. It seemed so odd to me sitting there on its own – one house, one large barn, two silos, a chicken house, and some fencing – less than a mile off of I-75. There were no cars in the driveway, and no real sign of life there. It is a miracle I didn’t run off the highway staring at the potential of such a homestead. I immediately began to wonder, “Who owns that? Do they still live there? What did they used to farm? Is the soil still good? How did the Interstate get here so close to them?” And then it hit me.


I felt a pang of guilt in my stomach as I pondered how we had allowed places like this all over America to be overrun by “progress.” How long would it be before that farm became an exit ramp or a TravelStop or some form of strip mall?

I guess I have reached a new place in my relationship with the land. I can no longer pass by such a home – an institution, if you will – without silently mourning the loss of our agrarian society. And for what? Progress?

What about you? Have you had these feelings recently? Where do your thoughts take you?

  • Published on May 20, 2010
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