Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sign of the Times

Rich folks always talk hard times.
Lillian Smith ~ American writer
1897- 1966

This sign is all over where I live. 

This strip mall was built in the small community about 2 miles from my home, Saint Bonifacious.

Built last year, it has no occupants.

This space is in the lake town about 6 miles from my place, Mound. This has been there about four years and is and has always been vacant.

This apartment building has been boarded for two years. It is also in Saint Bonifacious. It looks like there will be an auction. 

We feel it viscerally, the rot that lay beneath the surface. There is a sense of helplessness as the train plows forward. Unless we are in the top one percent, we are all vulnerable and we know it. My relatively affluent community is an example. The rich may talk hard times, but many of the other are feeling the hard times. OK, it's Friday and I'm feeling fretful.


  1. husband and i were just discussing this the other evening...i think the "crisis" started at least two years before anyone (e.g. the media) started talking about it...so it's been going on longer than anyone realized.

    what's sad to me is how often i'm seeing blog posts about food banks and food programs at schools these days. people who never thought they would be hungry are hungry today in our society. and that's even scarier than empty retail spaces...

  2. You are right, but empty retail spaces are probably part of the reason people are going hungry, as in jobs across the board are few and far between.

    If I'd had the time I could have driven within a radius of 10 miles and shown photo after photo of empty and half started abandoned housing.

    I am in a business that truly is the canary in the coal mine. Horses are an ultimate luxury item. I know the economy started to tank in 2005. The stock market is not the economy, but we were being told the market is doing well, so why does the general public not have confidence? Because the market is not the economy.

  3. On our visit back to New England I saw the same dismal reality, since we had not been to Vermont in 3 years it really was noticeable. Antique shops that I once frequented were closed, Mom & Pop restaurants were boarded up, people are just fighting to survive.

  4. That is sad to see that much empty space. The even sadder thing is people aren’t going to by an apartment they can fill with a tenant. Or lease a shop and be the only shop operating in that mall strip. Business is important for the whole community; I hope it does get better.

  5. I think New England is hit hard. I like to think of Vermont as a place of Mom & Pop stores and antique shops.

    Liss, you are right. I know there are people who aren't feeling it, but overall it's a bad deal. I think it's going to get a lot worse, but I hope it gets a lot better.

  6. In reading the comments, I noted you said the market is not the economy and you are soo right. Unfortunately, the market is manipulated by the % you speak of and those that will not be influenced by any down turn. It is the investors that this happens to...just as in the real estate market and businesses. We have had an unemployment rate that has not been correctly reported for years just to pad certain programs. Oh...this is such a wide open subject and felt by everyone...I fear not to get better any time soon either with our current government.

  7. The general public got pulled into the stock market via IRA accounts and 401K retirement accounts. Prior money was put into CD's & bonds. Until this happened relatively few 'average' people thought about the stock market. Wall St. started to get control of the economy about 30 years ago. If Wall St. wanted more profit, jobs were cut, shipped out of the country. CEO's started getting stock options, leaving them more concerned with the short-term profit instead of the long term health of the company, and ultimately the country. Wall St. has been awful for the economy of the typical person. It needs to be reined in and I don't see that happening.


I really appreciate the concept and sentiment behind awards, but I cannot participate in them anymore. I have too may and I have not got the time to devote to participating properly. To all who have honored me, I am grateful but I don't have seven more things to tell anyone about myself! And I'm a terrible passer-oner.