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THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN
February 11, 2008
 
I am most certainly shrinking. I used to be the tallest woman in any gathering, and now I look up to many -- of course, it may be that young women are growing taller than they used to. But I am also shrinking, I'm sure of it. If I live long enough, I suppose, I will disppear altogether.

I find myself wanting to shrink in other ways, as well. I want to shrink my carbon footprint down as far as it will go with me still alive and functioning in this rich country of ours. No more plastic bags; no more plastic anything. No more glossy ctalogues filled with pictures of things I don't need. No more fancy cleaners for the house: between the two of them, white vinegar and baking soda can clean amost anything. No more unnecessary use of the internal combustion engine for solitary trips; I took the Greyhound bus from Lynchburg to Richmond yesterday, and remembered, yet again, why I love trains and buses. More than one person expressed concern that I would take a bus instead of allowing myself to be driven: No! No! It is no trouble; it is a privilege and a delight. Let's all take the bus, and let's all insist that there be buses and trains to take. On public transportation, the human family rides together, rich and poor together in an agreeable jumble. Let's stop depriving ourselves of this fellowship. Let's stop choosing our aloneness, over and over again.

For we are so alone, all of us, alone in our enormous cars and our enormous houses, with their walled-off rooms and suites of rooms. We can go for days without encountering one another, if that is our desire. And, the more accustomed we become to our aloneness, the more we do desire it, the more dependent we become on our isolation. This cannot be right. The aloneness we prize is too costly: it sucks the substance of the earth dry, replacing none of it. We have become the earth's rude and greedy guests. But we are not guests. We live here.

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This week, 12.30 every day: Barbara Crafton is the Lenten Preacher at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond, VA.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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