I moved out to the country in part so I could see the stars at night. Remember stars? They speak of the glory of God, don’t they?

I moved out to the country so I could see real songbird, the bluebirds and spring warblers. Herons come to my pond.

I moved out to the country because I wanted to raise my son in a place less dominated by American consumerism. I wanted him to see what the world looked like before it got taken over by shopping malls, gaudy retail signs, and traffic lights.

There’s a beauty and innocence in the country that you can’t find any place else. That feel of rural America can’t be replaced once its gone. Yet the rampage of urban sprawl eats up of the wide open spaces faster than you can say, “Low, low prices!”

But some things can’t be bought and sold. Once the stars are gone, how do we get them back? Once the songbirds have been driven away by the starlings and house sparrows that accompany urban sprawl, what will bring them back?

Once our town has been converted into just another ugly, harried, homogeneous piece of sprawl, how do we cope?

We already know that a Kroger Marketplace store is coming. With Wal-Mart, that makes two monster retail stores in a town of 3,000 people.

Someone will certainly make tons of money off the deal, but most of us will be losers in the end. With five Wal-Mart stores already within a half hour’s drive, why would we possibly want to kiss all the good things we have goodbye and bring just another chunk of diseased sprawl to our town?

Remember: you never appreciate what you have until they take it away.