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21 November 2008 @ 01:47 pm
Ah, the peace of nature  
I'm often amused when city-folk move out into areas where previously wilderness reigned--and then are frustrated when nature persists in being, well, natural. The peace they expected is broken by the sounds of the hoot owl, coyotes, an early morning rooster call, or the sound of woodpeckers doing what they do best, drilling holes in wood whether it's trees or houses. Does no one do any study of the wild life before the developers start building? What do we expect when we move close to nature? Are we imagining that nature can be scheduled or made into a predictable, orderly entity meant to entertain at will and then fade into the background? Why do we encroach upon natural areas and then immediately start paving them into grids? Why are we indignant when mountain lions do what they're supposed to do--range their territory in search of food and water? How dare they?

I spent half of my childhood on an Iowa farm, and while we didn't have mountain lions we had a full range of critters to coexist with. The night was alive with sounds--a wide assortment of bugs, night birds like owls, and hound dogs guarding their territory. Visitors from the city found it difficult to sleep because the noises were so different from those they'd become accustomed to. It took time for them to adjust--at which point they returned home, and had to adjust all over again to traffic and stereos blaring and the rhythm of the city.

Back in Iowa it never seemed to occur to anyone that you ought to make the country more like the city. Each had their purpose and place in the scheme of things. But then, our population was dwindling and going south. Out here in the West, the burgeoning population is creeping out into the realm of nature, and wherever people go they transform the landscape. I couldn't fault the animals for deciding that humans make poor neighbors. A few animals find our garbage enough to sustain them while others face the loss of their normal diets and routines. We've driven off some of the predators that normally kept the deer population in check--so we hunt the healthiest and largest deer. Predators improved the deer by taking the weak and sick. I wonder what we're doing to the species over time? We've turned natural selection upside down.

Instead of searching for some fabled peace in nature, maybe we should think about making peace with nature.
equani_tsulaequani_tsula on November 22nd, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
you are so right
Many of the people in town live right on the Rio Grande - or very near it. On the other side of the river there are miles and miles of open country with the second largest lake in New Mexico, BLM land, etc. There is a local band of wild horses, wild cattle, mountain lions, bobcats, rattlesnakes, badgers, skunks, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, barn owls, great horned owls, coyotes, grey fox, desert fox, jackrabbits, desert cottontails, quail, dove...you get the picture.

And the people who moved to New Mexico to get back to nature, or be close to the lake or river, gripe and complain endlessly about the wildlife. Okay - rattlesnakes are a bit upsetting. If you put out bird feeders, you need to also expect to draw in kangaroo rats, mice, "real" rats (Norweigan greys), possum, raccoon - and in turn the predators who feed on them - owls, hawks, eagles, foxes, coyotes, and yes Virgina - rattlesnakes.

Personally - I love to hear the owls and the coyotes at night. I am just as thrilled to see a coyote (as long as he hasn't got one of my chickens in his mouth) as I am a pronghorn. If you don't like nature - go live in Chicago or NYC. :P

Yeah, rattlesnakes are upsetting - but they got rights, too.
3treekisser: Dandelion3treekisser on November 23rd, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
From the other end of the spectrum -- I always laugh when people (usually said city-folk) idealistically tell me we need to 'get back to nature': "It's big and green and smells funky and has things that can eat you. Plus it doesn't have electrical sockets. WHY?!"

Hmmm...maybe the problem is just other animals. Plants rock, of course. I love my hyacinths. :)