DOUBLE-TAKE: TWO DOGS & A BOA
Sometimes two views of completely different situations mingle in the mind to create insights beyond what you get by considering the situations separately. Here's what I mean, starting with one of this week's events:
The dogs Katrina and Negrita run with me each morning as I jog. If turning a corner we find a squirrel or coati on the road ahead, both dogs instantly shoot forward at full speed, although they know they can never outmaneuver such animals when they dive into the scrub at the trail's edge. Katrina is the larger, older dog, while this is Negrita's first dry season as a grownup. Katrina at top speed runs like a bouncing rubber ball; Negrita speeds past her like a bullet, with no wasted motion.
But, though Negrita always arrives first, she never knows what to do once she's gotten there. Katrina is the one providing ideas and leadership.
And, isn't that just how things usually are? I explain it to myself that this is Nature's way of increasing diversity. It's not enough to have sloppy runners and gifted runners, but also in each category there must be smart ones and unimaginative ones, as well as big and little ones, and some with inherited or learned handicaps, and some with good luck or bad, on and on, until the possibilities become astronomical.
That's the first insight from one of this week's observations -- a little one, but at least worth thinking about. Now the second:
On my fruit-buying bike trip to Temozón last Sunday I came upon a Boa Constrictor as thick as my arm. It'd been hacked to death with a machete and pulled to the roadside for display. It was beside one of the big, new papaya plantations springing up around here, so probably the boa had grown thick by feeding on our abundant, mole-like Tuzas (they're pocket gophers), who eat tree roots, including those of papaya trees, killing them.
So, this week's second insight -- which I already knew but was glad to be reminded of -- was that there's no natural law prohibiting the destruction of beautiful, useful beings, not even by the very ones who most benefit from the destroyed thing's services.
So, a deeper insight compounded from mingling the two separately gathered insights is this: Though Nature uses all kinds of tricks to compound Her creations' diversity, She's not particularly concerned about individual destinies amid all that diversity. To Her, what's important is the creation of Her art gallery but, except in a general, non-personal way, She's unconcerned about Her individual paintings on the wall. Also I've known this for a long time, but it's good to be reminded of it as well.
We individual beings don't like to think of ourselves as belonging to the same category as that well meaning but hacked-up boa along the road. One craves some kind of justice. Well, my thinking is that basic ecological principles interpreted as Earthly-written Bible verses suggest that in the end Nature does grant us some kind of justice.
For, if enough papaya plantations kill enough papaya-tree-protecting wildlife, and if enough water is pumped from the aquifer in this too-arid-for-papaya-growing climate, and if enough insecticide, fungicide and such is dumped into the environment, eventually such a desert will result that even the plantations won't survive. In other words, Anyone so ignorant and unfeeling as to destroy the environment they depend on, shall themselves face extinction.
And that seems like proper justice.