While cleaning out my files, I found this essay on the joy of accounting, which I wrote in February, 2005, when we lived in Geneva, Illinois.
How do you give an account of your spirituality? Perhaps I’d start in the present day, and in the place I’m now living. I live in Geneva, Illinois, on what used to be either an oak savannah or a prairie (we are no longer sure exactly where the boundary between the two lay), about a five minute walk from the Fox River. The Fox River originates to the north of us and eventually empties into the Illinois River. Most of the land in Geneva is now dominated by housing developments and shopping malls.
My partner and I arrived in Geneva last August, having driven here from Oakland, California. The rental market in Geneva had slumped, and we were able to find an affordable apartment a ten minute walk from the church where I’m now serving, and a fifteen minute walk from the commuter rail station, where we can catch a train that leaves us, an hour and ten minutes later, in the Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago.
We are sharing a car this year. My partner is a freelance writer who travels frequently, and she owns a car which she keeps on the east coast, where she still does much of her work. The car we have here in Geneva is now twelve years old, and we drive it only once or twice a week.
People live in their cars here in the Midwest. It is common to drive your car to drive half a block, rather than try to walk. This part of Illinois alternates between hot, humid summer and cold, bitter winter, with perhaps two weeks of pleasant weather in the spring, and again in the fall. It is easy to get into the habit of driving everywhere. As a result, roads are wide, buildings are set far apart, housing developments go on for miles, shopping malls seem endless. There is no particular reason to leave any prairie or oak savannah within Geneva when you can drive a short twenty or thirty minutes to a county park. Continue reading “The joy of accounting”