© 2014, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm
On the Road Again
With ice still underfoot and along the road’s edge, sitting down in a car, paying for relatively inexpensive gasoline to head out to the farm still seems like a practical decision. I can fit my bag of seed catalogues, some buckets of compost scraps, maybe some soil and trays for early seeding at a school, as well as some collected plates from the “take it or leave it” section at the transfer station that could be cleaned up for a future Farm to Table dinner at the farm. Traveling by automobile during the day and the evening makes a lot of sense, and I would be just like the many on the south shore who commute, transport and travel by car, often warm and hopefully not idling too long, as turning it off actually better suits the environment and the changing climate. A modern day convenience indeed, along with a little rectangle that buzzes and flutters to let everyone know where I am or where I am going. The former is alomost second nature and a convenience I have come to take for granted. The latter is expensive, interruptive and besides, everyone has one.
In major metropolitan cities, the bike share programs have remained in operation, despite the ongoing blizzards, polar vortexes and narrow, black-iced roadways. This decision is a tribute to the hardy souls who may not have access to or afford a car and wish to make a one less car difference for that same environment we all inhabit. Having been hit in Autumn by a car while on bike and then waiting to seek repairs to the bike, I have not been back in the saddle much since. But I need to. I am able and fortunate enough to have the wherewithall to take the Share the Road signs to heart. I also have lights for the early setting sun. I do wonder if there will ever be enough riders to really make the drivers pause. Could enough people in towns south of Boston and across the country (see Madison, WI) really envision separated, designated bike lanes, and not just an icon on the road at a stoplight? Could drivers be persuaded to put down their phones and devices so as to notice the folks who seek fresh air by walking the sidewalkless streets? Does Share the Road really mean to Stare down those not in cars on the road?
It is hard to transport families by bicycle. It is tricky to accomodate enough paniers to haul groceries. A quart of raw milk, a loaf of multigrain bread and a stick of organic butter does barely a bike basket hold. It is tricky to walk the icy, roughly plowed sidewalks to the post office for someone of any age. But the effort has to begin somewhere for change and pedestrian/pedal awareness. I am grateful to have access to a car but determined to ride the bike again. And when I am driving and see folks walking towards me on the road, I will be reminded that attention to all who walk, run and use the road must be paid. And I will fashion a double strapped backpack on the recently repaired two wheels and a frame to cart my seeds to the greenhouse at the farm or the new one at Hingham High and South River schools for Spring plants, even though the roads are still slick and slushy. It won’t be too hard, just like riding a bike. It is never too late to learn, Claire.