Beth Blalock is All Saints’ junior warden and an environmental attorney serving as the Brownfield Coordinator, Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Do you even know what a brownfield* is? I didn’t!
Here’s Beth …
The All Saints’ campus has many peaceful spots; the magnolia tree happens to be one of my favorite spots precisely because it is not peaceful…at least not when my children are around. They are both climbers and gravitate to anything that can take them higher. Many times I have had the experience in a park or natural setting of looking for them to my right and left only to hear their voices calling to me from above. I love hearing them laughing (maybe fighting) high up in the branches. It is an ancient activity that has been performed by children for centuries-before the baseball, the swimming, the karate, the running here and there. Kids in trees have always been and, I hope, always will be.
In our increasingly busy lives, I think about this urge to be with nature, to be in nature and how important it is to honor and nurture that instinct. To me, this picture is worth a thousand words because it represents our life perfectly. In the foreground are the kids in this historic tree and in the background you can see components of our modern and rushed life – a car and the MARTA station – symbols of the contradictions in our daily lives. It reminds me to make room for the both the busy world and the natural, spiritual calm.
By the way, like her children, Beth enjoys climbing and is currently researching a trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. She says any and all recommendations are welcome.
*According to Beth, “a Brownfield is a site/piece of property that has been used in the past and has some form of contamination vs. a greenfield-open pasture. Our “block” is a brownfield because there was once a dry cleaner on it. Make sense? We try to encourage the RE-development of those historically used sites instead of just the nice pretty green ones out there”
Around this block, one way or another, I think all of us over the age of eleven are somewhere in the process of being human brownfields on the way to becoming green pastures.