Tuesday, September 16, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

According to Bill McKibben's book Deep Economy, sociologists have found that people have ten times as many interactions with others at a farmer's market compared to interactions at the supermarket. Oxford is a little different. It's a small town, so I can count on running into at least two people I know at the grocery store. Last weekend, while out at the Taylor Farmer's Market I spoke with more than ten people, and I not just to ask the price of canned okra or fried peach pies.

Just a short walk west things were quieter. There, beside an idyllic community event, was an empty housing development. At a distance, the houses provided an almost Hollywood backdrop for the farmer's market. It called to mind The Truman Show, but it also reminded me of Celebration, Florida, the Disney "imagineered" town near Mickey Mouse HQ. When I started walking around the neighborhood, the eeriness lingered. No one seemed to be living there. Many people were against the development from the start. Finally realized, it's an unusual sight in the center of a quaint, quiet town that's in the middle of nowhere.

How is it that this has happened in the community of Taylor? At breakfast the next day, I heard some theories from a local resident, but since this isn't a blog proffering ill will, I'll leave them out. What I can say -- and what appears to be the heart of the matter -- is that a community's identity has been threatened. Seeing these homes recalled the part in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy's house lands in Oz. Like that house, they don't fit the scene.

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