Big Yellow Taxi is one of my favorite songs. It has a catchy melody and a chorus that is thought-provoking, simple and a truism. It also uses those elements to pull you in--to convince you that "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" by lamenting the paving of paradise, putting all the trees in a tree museum, and the killing of birds and bees with DDT and then WHAM! Just when you are sure the title of the song must be either "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot" or "Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" the tempo slows and in a whisper he says "Late last night I heard the scream door slam. A big yellow taxi took my girl away." Wow! That is what the song is really about. Now that he has suffered such a great loss, he sees the pattern of failing to appreciate blessings in other areas as well.
Here is my variation of that song; I will tell you the principle first then tell you the humorous story that reminded me of it.
We all have a tendency to cover up problems instead of doing the hard digging required to actually fix the problem. We do this even though we know the problem will only get worse if we ignore it.
In the latest incarnation of my career I walk up to the door of a 150-year-old house in Wetumpka most days. The couple that lives here are probably in their 70's. There is a semi-circular dirt drive in front of the house. At the edge of this drive, I noticed a few months ago there was a wet spot. This seemed odd since it had not rained in some time. For the next several days I noticed it was still wet. I walked over and pressed on the edge of the wet area with my foot and water seeped up in the middle. That can't be good. A quick survey offered the likely explanation; there was a water meter directly across the drive. These folks have a water leak underground. There is also a sweet gum tree nearby that I would guess is about 120 years old that was struck by lightning a few months ago. I don't know if the lightning strike caused the rupture, but it is possible. Here is the funny part. A couple of days later there was a couple of shovel-fuls of dirt on top of the wet spot. In a few more days the water had soaked through that dirt. Then there was more dirt. Then the water soaked through again. This process has gone on and on. Now there is a large mound of dirt at the edge of the drive and the grass around the mound is growing like crazy. Since we haven't had rain in 40 days and 40 nights, the rest of the grass is dry and parched. Not this spot. Green and lush. In fact the grass and clover growing there is the only thing nearby that is as tall as the mound of wet dirt. I never see this gentleman but can hardly believe that he can't realize that there is a broken pipe underground and no matter how much dirt he piles on, the water will still continue to leak.
It seems silly, or to be honest it seems foolish. But how many times have I done the same?
"Don't it always seem to go, you cover the symptoms instead of digging for the real problem?" Until the screen door slams. I love that song.