The Words we Cannot Hear
Are you a good listener? Chances are you are not. In fact most of us are horrible listeners.
If someone was trying to tell you that you were in danger, if someone was trying to show you that there is a problem, wouldn't you want to understand them?
I have been noticing changes. Subtle ones, the kind that most of us won't see or hear and even if we do, they are not enough to really make us think twice. Like the silence coming from the creek down the hill from my house. The frogs are quiet now. There are no peepers in the early spring and no low croaks of bullfrogs on a still summer night. The lightening bugs which used to create a magical wonder are sparse at night, so much so that kids today know little about the spiritual experience of seeing hundreds if not thousands of glowing lights floating around the backyard. I miss seeing the bees in the daytime too. It used to be that they were everywhere...the buzzing was around every plant...now I am lucky if I see one while I walk around my yard.
A drive at night usually meant the car would be dotted with dead bugs on the lights and the grill, but now the car comes home almost free of insects.
Where did they go?
It is easy to ignore these changes. The almost year round fireworks blast through the silent evenings with brilliant explosions of manmade color. The air conditioners hum from yard to yard and neighborhood block to block. Our immaculate and almost bug free lawns, sprayed to sterile perfection with pesticides and herbicides, insure our safety and a pure green color for our neighbors to envy. Just don't let your kids or pets play in the grass for at least a few hours after spraying...we wouldn't want to poison our kind...just everything else.
These gaps in what used to be here are not normal. It has become so much quieter outside now. The mosquitoes and ticks are still there...today carrying a slew of serious if not deadly viruses and conditions. But no worry, the mosquito squad will come and spray if you have any problems...time to add another pesticide to the equation.
When I moved to this neighborhood, there used to me many trees. Pines and oaks which shaded the area and actually meant it was a good 5-10 degrees cooler than the barren desert of pavement and concrete downtown. When the wind blew the branches swayed and the leaves whistled their peaceful sound. But since our last ice storm, many residents feel safer cutting down the trees and exposing their homes to full sunlight during the day. Full sunlight means more air conditioning in the summer, which means more electricity used, which means more coal or nuclear waste from the power plant.
It also means less places for wild creatures to live.
I grew up watching Star Trek as a child. I loved that show and it made me think of what a wonderful civilization we could become. A civilization which seeks out those who are different. Communicates with them and learns to work with and understand the differences. Sadly, this was only fiction.
In reality, our kind wants nothing to do with anything that is different. We fear difference and over the centuries have raped this planet in our quest to create the perfect home for ourselves.
Who would ever think of trying to communicate with nature? What an insane idea!!! Try to talk to a tree and you will be locked up. Reason with a bird and people will think you are insane. Nature is for conquering, for dominion over, as the good Christians say. Nature is here for us to use and deplete, to kill, to waste, to destroy. The earth is for us not for the other creatures who exist here.
But it is for them as well as for us.
It is like a large and intricate gear system. The smaller gears turning medium gears and the medium gears turning larger gears and so on. If a gear is chipped or breaks, that means the next gear in line won't turn. If bees become extinct due to poisoning, then plants which we use for food and require pollination won't produce. They may be a smaller gear in the large cog of the earth's ecosystem, but nonetheless, without them we will likely starve.
The solution is simple. Stop it. Stop it now!!! Your lawn will be fine without an array of fertilizers, herbicides and poisons. When we poison the earth, we poison ourselves. Large, industrial farms contribute heavily to the problem, but each and every one of us has the potential to stop the madness at the grass root level...literally.