Death’s Half Acre, my last book, is about change and loss—loss of farmland, loss of familiar landmarks, loss of local newspapers that used to act as an ombudsman for its readers, loss of community.
Taken here in my neighborhood, this is one of my favorite pictures. It shows a field of tobacco in early August after the sand lugs have been harvested. Striding the field like alien bohemoths are those huge power structures that relay electricity for space-age gadgetry from one end of the state to the other.
There to the side is an uninhabited tenant house. No power line to it. In another few years, as the housing market rebounds, it will probably be buldozed, and dozens of fully-wired houses will spring up where tobacco now grows.
“People have to live somewhere,” my Brooklyn-born husband tells me. “Get over it.”
He’s absolutely right. But North Carolina just passed New Jersey in population and I keep thinking of that line by Edna Millay: “I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.”