I'm embarrassed to admit I've asked that question more than once, particularly about creatures such as ticks. I'm struggling these days with how Leopold's perspective applies to invasive species and Republicans. In fact, it's not all that long a stretch to argue that, since man is part of Nature, the disruptions we create must also be "natural." Think about now melting glaciers which, about 10,000 or so years ago, were growing and scouring the countryside down to bedrock. What good were they? They created "pristine" landscapes for life to use and lowered sea level to ease travel.
One of the major differences between (many of) Nature's changes and those we humans induce is the timeline we follow. Leopold's wonderful perspective that "Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf." is a far, far cry from the rate at which we try to impose our will on the world around us. As I look about at the efforts of a president, and Republican legislators at the federal and state level, the following three thoughts come to mind:
- “Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone” - Joni Mitchell
- “Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television.” - Aldo Leopold
- At the rate we've been going, our democracy had become taken for granted, I fear, by too many of us. Perhaps now we will learn what good it is or we'll lose it. That might be an example of what good could come from the current administration.
I suppose, if we find what good Republican legislatures and the current administration may bring, there may even be hope for ticks. On the other hand, we can try to talk more with Republicans. No so ticks. Is it possible that our road to restorative development needs to start with restoring civility to our politics? Is that possible? It has to be.
When you’re cold—November, the streets icy and everyone you passhomeless, Goodwill coats and Hefty bags torn up to make ponchos—someone is always at the pay phone, hunched over the receiverspewing winter’s germs, swollen lipped, face chapped, making the lasttired connection of the day. You keep walking to keep the coldat bay, too cold to wait for the bus, too depressing the thoughtof entering that blue light, the chilled eyes watching you decidewhich seat to take: the man with one leg, his crutches bumpingthe smudged window glass, the woman with her purse clutchedto her breasts like a dead child, the boy, pimpled, morose, his headshorn, a swastika carved into the stubble, staring you down.So you walk into the cold you know: the wind, indifferent blade,familiar, the gold leaves heaped along the gutters. You havea home, a house with gas heat, a toilet that flushes. You havea credit card, cash. You could take a taxi if one would show up.You can feel it now: why people become Republicans: Get that dogoff the street. Remove that spit and graffiti. Arrest those people huddledon the steps of the church. If it weren’t for them you could believe in god,in freedom, the bus would appear and open its doors, the driver dressedin his tan uniform, pants legs creased, dapper hat: Hello Miss, watchyour step now. But you’re not a Republican. You’re only tired, hungry,you want out of the cold. So you give up, walk back, step into line behindthe grubby vet who hides a bag of wine under his pea coat, holds outhis grimy 85 cents, takes each step slow as he pleases, releases his coinsinto the box and waits as they chink down the chute, stakes out a seatin the back and eases his body into the stained vinyl to dreamas the chips of shrapnel in his knee warm up and his good legflops into the aisle. And you’ll doze off, too, in a while, next to the girlwho can’t sit still, who listens to her Walkman and taps her bootsto a rhythm you can’t hear, but you can see it—when she bopsher head and her hands do a jive in the air—you can feel itas the bus rolls on, stopping at each red light in a long wheeze,jerking and idling, rumbling up and lurching off again.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.