Sunday, August 29, 2004

Lake Effect

Back from Up North, almost over the cold I always seem to get whenever I visit family, either one, no matter the time of year.

Torch Lake was beautiful, despite the infernal whine of the two "personal watercraft" moored (all too infrequently) at the pier of the house next door. Goddamm aquatic leaf-blowers.

We stayed at the home of an acquaintance of my mother's, a modest and comfortable house on the water. The kids ran around and made kid noises, I had fun cooking despite the dreadfully 1970s equipped kitchen (is there another kitchen in America without a single wooden spoon?).

The modesty of the house made me ruminate on the diminishing prospect of meaningful middle-class leisure. Such homes are no longer being built anywhere near water, as evidenced by the $1.5 million homes being constructed down the road...on spec. The fact is that people of modest means no longer can afford a second home, let alone somewhere as beautiful as this corner of the world. Increasing population and finite land resources are one reason, certainly, but more suspect I think, is the decline in prosperity for the middle class, coupled with the concentration of development exclusively for the upper brackets. This same phenomenon is replayed all the way down the Carolina coastline, as charming and unassuming cottages are bulldozed for the five story condo monstrosities that are the sole province of the new Republican haute bourgeoisie.

At least there is still some public land for a little while longer, until Bush gets us good and greased up for his vision of an "ownership society". I won't go into a rant about conservatives' baroque ontology of property rights just here. Suffice it to say that our public places, especially those as beautiful as the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore where we spent a perfect day, are criminally underfunded and no doubt being salivated over by developers who are banking on a happy confluence of privatization and budget deficits to deliver onto their forks the last morsels of the commonwealth.


Blogger Ed said...

Amen, I grew up in that area. My grandmother had a home on Clam Lake until she passed away a few years ago. As the years went on fewer and fewer of her neighbors were part of her community.

11:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home