I learned something surprising recently. Only 2% of the United States has been built over. I am deeply thankful to hear this. I figure the most rapacious generations are already past and the generations to come will be less wild about clearing, taming, and destroying the wilderness.

I thought about this while walking Toby. I’m wantonly taking the evening off, reading and eating a proper meal and taking the dog for a walk. He is enormously enthusiastic about it.

It was too hot for me to be very brisk or to want to go very far. I took him on a stroll around the new road they’re building where there used to be a pasture behind our house. We met a couple of girls who were running and then, probably feeling overheated, slowing to a walk. We ran into one another several times.

“I like your dog,” one of them finally said to me. I thanked them and they both smiled sweetly at the dog.

Toby is entirely deaf, so he didn’t know that they liked him, unless he caught the smiles.

The people who are developing the pastureland left a lot of the trees, which I appreciate, and I have to admit that it’s a very nice place to walk. Paved roads, no houses, few people, fewer cars. It’s like a really handy walking trail at the moment.

But there are houses being built. Foundations right now, looking like wounds in the meadows, with Porta Potties by them. Conceivably they might end up being stunningly lovely architectural jewels, but I’m guessing they’ll be smaller version of the popular McMansions across the highway.

Still, 98% of the nation is still pristine, or at least not built on. Something to be thankful for.