The old man wasn’t dead twenty-four hours when they started staking the land. The son had spent some years getting ready for the day, cutting deals with developers, drawing up maps of the various parcels, filling out the paperwork.

Development. That’s their word for when they down whatever was here and build some godawful boxes to sell.  Ryerson’s woods, the last piece of natural land in this county, 90+ acres of pristine wilderness and one ancient house.

They say they’re building a nature center. Great.  Kids will be able to look at pictures of the tress and animals and wonder why.


Friday Fictioneers




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  1. rochellewisoff

    And they call it progress. We’re watching strip malls and parking lots crop up all over our area. Ten years ago we moved out here to escape urban life and it seems to following us. I feel for Mr. Ryerson. Good one, Josh.



    • J Hardy Carroll

      Thanks. This actually took place outside our town of Cedar Rapids, They destroyed some of the last grassland to make a nature center. The community was behind it because now the kids can look at taxidermy of the former prairie residents in air-conditioned comfort.

  2. Iain Kelly

    Ain’t that the truth. We have a massive new housing estate being built on the back of our street. No sign of any ‘nature’ or even a park in amongst the endless houses.

  3. James

    If I had 90+ acres and had enough money, I’d build a house in the exact center, make it as self-sustaining as possible (solar, wind, septic, gardening, greenhouses, satellite communications), and hide the heck away from humanity. Well, I think of that sometimes.

  4. Lynn Love

    Feels like that everywhere I think, people selling off tiny parcels of land to squeeze another boxy house onto. Well written elegy for the open wildness Josh

  5. draliman

    Love the last sentence. A Nature Centre to show what was there before they chopped it all down to make way for the Nature Centre…

  6. pennygadd51

    Excellent writing, excellent message. I like how you manage to tell us about the father/son relationship entirely by implication, at the same time as driving your storyline about the rape of nature. Very accomplished writing!

  7. Mike

    I piece of writing which is close to my heart. Particularly as much of what is now being built is already redundant

  8. Woman walking Max

    A powerfully told story – about the grim irony of calling this ‘development’ instead of what it is- destruction- of what really matters for future generations. Good story.

  9. Nan Falkner

    90 acres of pristine wilderness sounds like heaven! Every generation can sit back and boast about the hardships they endured while growing up. Hopefully the new generation will go in their own direction with respect for honoring nature. Enjoy it! Excellent story!

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