Tapati (tapati) wrote,

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.

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