An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of May 9, 2004
issued  from the woods just south of Natchez, Mississippi, USA

WHY DESTRUCTION
MIGHT BE SO MUCH FUN

The neighbor continues "neatening up the landscape." Day after day the bulldozer has its way and during each morning jog I see the consequences. One day a line of trees is vanished, the next a hedgerow. It's especially painful now when so many creatures are nesting. On the other hand, maybe it's best to destroy the nests and kill the young now, for without habitat there will be nothing to sustain them later.

One unsettling thing about jogging by a spot where a hedgerow or large tree stood before, but now there's nothing but flat, bare dirt, is that nothing is left screaming about what is missing. It's not like the empty feeling left by an extracted molar, where you can insert the tip of your tongue and feel the weirdness of the tooth's absence, the unnaturalness of it, the awful loss. You just jog by and wonder if maybe you were wrong about that hedgerow or tree having been there in the first place. In the morning fog, the emptiness looks perfectly natural, totally at ease with itself.

This phenomenon of natural things going missing, and their absence not being a screaming affair, fits neatly with similar situations. How simple it is to walk up to a wildflower that has been developing for months, and stomp it in a second. How easy to drain and fill a wetland that has needed centuries to develop.

It seems that reality is structured so that destruction is quick and easy, while creation is always a painful and difficult thing. The only reason I can figure out that the Creator would fix things this way is that She so much enjoys the processes of creation and evolution. After all, a glimpse into the Universe shows that everything is evolving, so surely creation in order to evolve is the Creator's main passion. With such an obsession for the process of change, and with eternity and the whole Universe to work with, why should the Creator be especially fond of what we think of as static, stable ecosystems and living things, ephemeral as they are on our relatively evanescent Earth?

How else can it be explained that in this culture the extermination of those little islands of life is adjudged appropriate and good, while my wish that they would be left alone has no standing at all, in fact is generally regarded as the quirky whims of a crank?

Surely with each shove of the bulldozer's blade, the Creator smiles anticipating the fun eventually She'll have starting over, blossoming life and order where the bulldozer today destroys it. Facebook Icon.