A dear friend of mine began her teens, as I did, in a podunk town during the 1960s heyday of tie-dye fashions.

Podunk often translated into being a decade behind on trends, so she and I both missed out on the tie-dye movement.

Recently, my friend kind of stumbled onto doing her own tie-dye as a retirement hobby.

My friend’s creations are just stunning; you’d think she’d been doing it for years.

The other afternoon, she told a story that had both of us crying in our wine we were laughing so hard.

She’d decided to dye a sports bra and panties in a cascading, top-to-bottom set of patterns.

The cotton sports bra turned out beautifully, but the nylon bottoms took the color in only one spot; the little cotton insert was a vile green.

Can you imagine having a health crisis and ending up in the emergency room wearing those underpants? They’d have you in an isolation ward in no time flat.

A calamitous miscalculation is funny with tie-dye, but it could be a whole lot less amusing for the future of our beautiful area if we can’t get the individual towns and the county all on the same page as far as development goes.

Right now, subdivisions are popping up everywhere and money is flowing into pockets and coffers.

The lure of the lucre makes it easy to cave to the temptation to just flatten our trees and pave it all. To fire up streetlights by the thousands and allow in the Costco that would assuage the withdrawal symptoms of all the city folks arriving here.

If we lose the unsophisticated charm that draws people up here, we will never get it back.

Our children and grandchildren will scarcely be able to tell the difference between the mountain and Phoenix.

Except for the heat there and the snow here, freeways and street people will all look the same.

A hit-or-miss approach isn’t going to work; we’re too spread out an area and the towns and the counties are going to have to be on the same page to get a handle on the growth problem.

All our towns should be firm about filling up vacant retail and business space before allowing any more trees to be mowed down for new buildings.

In most cases, the vacancies are a tax issue, it shouldn’t take rocket science to fix it.

The chambers of commerce could unite in their applications to the IDA (International Dark Sky Association) for designations as Dark Sky Communities. Arizona has five of those towns and a few are a lot larger than any of our towns are yet.

Many places all over Arizona are working with a water deficit and we’re certainly among them.

There should be at least a partial building moratorium until we implement a true 100-year plan for sustainable water.

OK, tie-dye is more amusing than facing our growth issue, but not doing so while we still can will have much worse consequences than a bad dye job.

Leslie Baker is an Arizona native who’s known the White Mountains since her childhood.

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