“You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, and even vagueness – ignorance, credulity – helps your enjoyment of these things.” – Walt Whitman

I spend time outside; I love the walks from my home, the games in the yard. The more time I spend in the forest, the more I adore living here. Triangulated from populations, Frelinghuysenfolly sits like a utopia upon the best water, air, and land in New Jersey with a remarkable population density score (for us the most densely populated and the most expensive state in the Nation). Our local taxes are “low” by Jersey standards, but not so much if we compared it to similar sized municipalities in PA or VT. On a positive note, our preserved land is high. This is ideal! Perhaps the ideal is related, like nature, to government, in the same tenor as the quote above. To know too much is to cease to enjoy; the less you know the better. I am sure this drives 90% of the population here who choose not to be involved. What I don’t know can’t possible hurt me!

In Amelia’s utopia, everyone has a Friday afternoon that includes taking a walk amongst some trees. Vistas from publically owned land across to Jenny Jump and the Land of Make Believe allow me to stretch my eye, and stretching my eye helps me think better. This is a remarkable and valuable community asset.

“What we call wisdom is the result of all the wisdom of past ages. Our best institutions are like young trees growing upon the roots of the old trunks that have crumbled away.” – Henry Ward Beecher

NJ has 47 “hate groups” according to the Southern Poverty law Center Fighting Hate, Teaching Tolerance, and Seeking Justice; PA has 36, NY has 31, and Delaware and Connecticut each have 6 each. NJ also has many land conservancy organizations buying land to keep it preserved. In Amelia’s utopia these hate organizations, and “hate speak” would dry up.  In my utopia, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey blossoms and grows. The Conservancy has helped to preserve over 17,000 acres of open space, assist 32 municipalities in six counties preserve and protect land for recreation, conservation, and agriculture. Amelia is reading Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet published by National Geographic and it is helping me understand weather and sea currents better. Weather will become more and more of a central issue for governments and humanity; this idea that glacier melt is the way to understand global warming is clearly articulated in this book as only one of many contributing issues. Imagine if all that “hate” energy could be redirected here in jersey- and the money and volunteerism of the haters was re-appropriated for CO2 reduction programs and open space purchasing.

“Plants are the young of the world, vessels of health and vigor; but they grope ever upward towards consciousness; the trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment, rooted in the ground.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Amelia is following Wisconsin https://act.credoaction.com/campaign/we_support_wisconsin/index2.html?rc=reaction_multiaction&r=7205&id=17177-1845634-Xst3Uox

I am also following the NJ State budget news, and specifically education funding, and it is all rather hinky. She wonders if a major demonstration would ever emerge in Jersey against the government’s actions to limit the pensions and wages of public school employees. Our current fiscal climate? Give from here; take from there. Cap this; uncap that. Change this, for everyone but some.

Our town budget has been placed online for our collective review before final meetings on the budget 2010. What about 2011? Have you studied it yet? It should be headed into final review process. In Amelia’s utopia everyone reviews the annual budget and it is easily seen in electronic form to reduce paper and cost for duplication! Could we please see the working budget?

Note to self: this should be interesting. A meeting has been scheduled with the United States Postal Service with regard to the closing of the Johnsonburg Post Office on Friday, March 4th at 6:00 in the Municipal Building, 210 Main Street, Johnsonburg, New Jersey. A representative from the Post Office will discuss the emergency suspension, explain the procedures as to what happens with the mail and delivery and other related items.

Advise for maintaining balance amidst budget development? Take a walk in the forest and hang with some trees!

“As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.”  – Stephen Graham