Once upon a time there was a beautifully kooky girl whose heart was as precious and shiny as a seawater pearl.
Because she loved nature, she created a garden. A garden so big it filled up an acre. That girl had a name and that name was Sarah Baker.
Everyday Sarah would wake up and run outside to play, to experience and see the beautiful, most amazing day.
Just as she heard the bird song with a daffodil choir, a loud noise would appear giving her a feeling of dire.
RRRRRRuummm ruuummm rummm rumrumm…
It would come across the air to land loudly on her soul. The noise was so often and loud it created inner toil.
Not able to take the noise, Sarah would drop her head in sadness and think to herself, “This is madness!”
What could be making this horrible sound that drowned out the beautiful nature orchestra that was abound?
Not knowing what it was, her sadness would turn to crying because she was sure it was the sound of life dying.
One morning, not able to take it anymore, Sarah decided she needed to know, no matter what was in store.
She traveled through her field, past the bunnies, the bees, the flowers and the weeds.
She peaked over the fence and to her astonishment she saw…nothing!
Well there was something…but no bunnies, no bees, no flowers, no weeds. Just a large green field as far as the eye can see.
In the distant on the hill, she could see a little speck. It was a man riding the machine that killed.
“Why would someone do this? What is the meaning? What is the purpose of all the cultured greening?”
Confused and bewildered and filled with strife, Sarah turned back to her garden of life.
As the days went on, the vast nothingness consumed her thoughts. She sat and wondered, and she wondered a lot.
Then one day, a knock on the door. A man with notice that left Sarah quite sore.
“You must mow your lawn to look like the rest. We do not like this terrible mess.”
Mess? What are they saying? They can’t be real. This is life! Over there is death!
She took the notice and slammed the door, she knew right then it was time for her to take the floor.
She needed to speak, speak for reason. This destroying of nature is absolute treason.
It was not long before the town came a knockin’ and she was ready to give them a good ole sanity sockin’
Off she went to the Town Hall, where she would tell them all, “This is no mess. This is life. That is death”
As she took the stage with script in hand, she spoke for the trees, the bees, and the land.
Proudly she stood because she knew this was good, she started to share so that others would care.
She spoke into the room and said…
This story needs an ending! Tell me what happened? How did it go? Were you able to change the hearts and minds to restore the land like it was long ago?
Sarah’s cousin, Colleen Schell, sent Sarah this poem asking what happened at the trustees meeting on July 14, 2015 regarding her yard (read that story HERE).
Although Sarah and Daryl presented a very sound and logical case for their yard and our environment, they were told that they must cut their yard.
On July 14, 2015, I walked into the St. Albans Township Trustee meeting feeling positive and hopeful. I was happy to know that we have trustees who would listen to our concerns and reasons, people who were elected to serve our community. I was wrongly mistaken and quickly realized that they were only listening because they had to. The Trustees seemed to have already come to a decision before the meeting even began. According to the Ohio Revised Code 505.87 (A), “A board of township trustees may provide for the abatement, control, or removal of vegetation, garbage, refuse, and other debris from land in the township, if the board determines that the owner’s maintenance of that vegetation, garbage, refuse, or other debris constitutes a nuisance.” This decision is at the discretion of the Trustees, as there is nothing clearly defining what a “nuisance” is, and in their opinion, Sarah and Daryl’s yard is a “nuisance.”
Sarah and Daryl offered compromises such as removing the thistle, putting up a fence to obscure the view, and planting a meadow of Ohio native wildflowers, instead of mowing. The Trustees rejected these compromises. Sarah then asked the Trustees what they would recommend as an alternative to mowing. She was more than willing to hear their ideas and to compromise, but again, was rejected. The Trustees voted that she has to mow her yard within seven days. Beyond the disappointment of the outcome, I was shocked to see how rudely two of the three trustees, who are elected officials, treated and reacted to our community members. One trustee’s anger was overflowing and barely controlled. A brave eleven-year-old boy sat in the audience, listening and taking in the information being shared. He spoke up, addressing the Trustees and asked, “So, you are saying that life is a nuisance?” The angry trustee was even rude to this young child, who could clearly see that injustice was being served.
As of yesterday, July 20, 2015, the zoning inspector, Tom Frederick, stopped by Sarah and Daryl’s house to check their progress. He claimed that is still looks bad, but it is acceptable. Sarah and Daryl are being required to maintain this new height or they will be “in trouble again.”
Here’s the thing about Sarah and Daryl… they love our Earth more than anyone I have ever met. Everything they do is selfless. They breathe life, hope and joy into this world. Cutting their yard was devastating for them. But through it all, they are choosing to be positive, believing that their story and their actions will inspire and educate others. They know that change takes time. These two are not weak or weary, but full of peace and gratitude. They are not giving up hope and continue to find peaceful ways to live out their values and dreams of restoring this land.