Monday, August 27, 2012

The fence and the tree

As my husband and I walked down the long path to pick Aiden up from his first day of kindergarten, he stopped to look at an oak tree that is growing around the chain link fence.  About a square foot of the fence has disappeared into the tree so far, and short of demolishing the tree and removing an entire section of the fence, the two will never be separated.  My husband looked at me and said "It's amazing that people see stuff like this all the time and still think they can control nature."

Around here, I see people trying, with various levels of success, to get the upper hand against nature.  Pesticides are sprayed constantly.  Leaf blowers pollute the air with their noise and toxic exhaust.  People spend hours weeding gardens and trying to force plants that aren't adapted to this climate to grow.  Moles and gophers are THE ENEMY of certain neighborhoods (as though they get together underground and plot which location's landscaping to destroy next), and pigeon deterrents are on many, many buildings.  Of course, not a single one of these attempts to subvert the ecosystem to our total domination works, yet the money and energy continue to pour into the businesses that try to conquer nature.

Rather than learning about nature to understand the hows and whys of ecology, humans, at least in this part of the world, try to force it to behave by human standards.  It is precisely this thinking that may kill us off as a species.  What we don't like or understand, we kill, but what we fail to remember is that we are pretty new to the planet and most everything around us, except our domesticated animals, have the evolutionary upper hand.  Life, with a big L, will go one without us.  If we want to be a part of the world, we need to understand our role in it and appreciate that we cannot control everything.  The fence has learned that the hard way.


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