Last month I wrote about the local hiking and the beauty of the land as being examples of why this is a special place to live. That's still true; this morning I spent a couple hours enjoying the Lake from the ledges area though of course I had to walk through the destruction zones to get there. A goldfinch about to land was startled to see me sitting there and changed his mind. Later on the Lakewalk, a swallowtail caterpillar got an assist from me out of the way of tourists in horseless carriages. As I stood in the shade watching him, a red-breasted nuthatch flew by and explored the tree a foot in front of me. Good moments, but...
A lot of major negative things have happened in this town in the past 2-3 years which have made it a much less desirable place to live for me. I recognize that others may see my negatives as positives, and before griping I'll salute the completion of the Superior Hiking Trail and all the other trail work being done in town as the biggest positive of the past couple years.
At the top of the list of evil: hunting being allowed in town. It's a short list of things I consider as vile an act as modern day hunting: animal experiments, working in a slaughterhouse, child abuse. I've written many letters and columns on this subject and I'll collect my points into another post, but the City Council's unanimous approval of this guaranteed that none of them would ever get my vote again.
The loss of the foghorn, caused by the Coast Guard, the city, and a small number of residents, removed one of Duluth's best qualities. Gone from the fog was the atmospheric sense of history and mystery, and the feeling of being in a unique location. Instead we were left in a dreary bland anywhere with an annoying whistle like a hated pop song ringing in our ears.
Those destruction zones mentioned above were mirrored in all directions. From shoreline to ridgetop, wetland to forest, downtown to outskirts, a city with a declining population, many struggling to survive, allowed the building of more condos and houses to cater to those with too much money. A green building (from so-called environmentalists) where there were green plants is still destruction.
Everyone involved should have known the zoo's loss of accreditation was coming as the city let years go by without meeting its financial responsibility there as in many other areas. More importantly to me, it didn't meet the moral obligation it took on by having a zoo. As a former docent, I know the people who work there care about animals, but unless a deep-pocketed benefactor appears, I don't see anything but continued deterioration in the zoo's future and hope they shut it down before it becomes much worse.
The arts in town continue to be completely unstable. Music venues come and go, the Norshor couldn't make it as a movie theater but someone thinks one replacing the Red Lion can, the community wouldn't support American National Ballet (if only the country worshiped dancers as professional athletes instead of football players), KUMD seems on the verge of becoming a radio station I'll no longer listen to.
As everywhere, civilized humans do their best to destroy the natural world. Remote location, few overpaid jobs, and rugged winters (well, we're losing that one) have combined to save more of this area than in most of the country and I remain grateful for that. It's quickly becoming one of the last reasons to live here.