Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cold but beautiful


We've had a winter of high blue skies, minimal snow adn very, very chilly winds. Mostly I have been timid about going to the beach to walk -- my nose and cheekbone do not take well to very cold winds. But a couple of days I ago I wanted some photos so I went to the ocean. I was surprised that the wind was not quite as cold there as in my yard. I'm not sure whether it's because I know what the temperature was (about 38 degrees) or because it's actually evident, but to me this picture looks cold. The houses lined along the beach are all empty this time of year. They are all well over a million dollars each and I presume nicely furnished inside but there they are, unused six months of the year looking out on that blue sky and blue sea while their owners are in a city or perhaps in Florida or other warmer lands. I don't know if their owners consider themselves among the 1% so much in the news, I think they probably are in that blessed and accursed number -- depending, of course, who's thinking of blessing or cursing.

Sometimes I drive among the wealthier enclaves of large, gracious homes and see that most are empty half the year and have Puritanical feelings of embarrassment that I live in a place of such conspicuous consumption. I'm on the horns of a dilemma not truly begrudging people the fruits of their success which, I believe, is more often earned through honest work and intelligence than by greed and dishonestly. On the other hand I think of the many places in the world I have visited where people have so very little -- including a good many places in this country -- and then the display of wealth, of unnecessary and unused houses become obscene. Obscene because they suggest to me that the owners of such wealth think first of their wants and not of the rest of the world; chose an amount of luxury that probably does not substantially increase their personal happiness. I sense a coldness in the hearts of those who can choose to own great empty homes while people in the street shiver and line up at soup kitchens for hot meals.

4 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- this is a very insightful post. You are so right when you think of all the homes that sit idle while the owners play in another home they own. They are heartless for the men and womenas they dole out minimum wages (nonsustainable) to clean their houses, work in their restaurants, take care of their garden while they are away, etc. I could tell you stories of which I am familiar that would curdle your blood but I won't. Thanks for writing this well thought out post. I wish it could be posted on the editorials pages of papers like the New York Times or other metropolitan papers. thanks -- barbara

June Calender said...

Thanks for your agreement, Barbara. I strongly suspect that it I sent it as a letter to the editor of the local paper it would be rejected -- for obviously political reasons.

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

I just wonder how many bloggers will resent that June. Me, if I could afford a house or even a condo on a beach somewhere I probably would. I get upset when I see run down buildings in cities where homeless people are and letting the buildings go to waste.
Making a general opinion by Barbara that they are heartless people is ridiculous.

June Calender said...

Maybe not heartless, but thoughtless. And probably unaware. I do not like to see neglected houses but when people have no job there's not likely to be money for repairs. I know people who feel lucky to be able to put gas in their car to get to the grocery store - where they have to use food stamps.