“…a world of wounds”
Vice President, Biohabitats ISM
Went hiking the other day. Solo of course.
Moving solo within, as opposed to across, a landscape you see things; things like the giant wood frog orgy in the vernal pool two weeks ago (oh, to be young and a frog). And then this week – gelatinous masses of wood frog eggs in a dirt tire track. Damn, those are doomed the next time bubba comes four wheelin’. Thinking quickly, I scooped up a bunch into my water bottle. Thinking more slowly, I realized I was four miles from the car and had just contaminated my only potable water.
In the deep woods of northern PA, you also see other things on the landscape when going solo. Scars from the logging holocaust of the 19th century are evident – mountain streams with damaged morphology and uniform, even-aged forests. Scars of the 20th century are even more glaring – fragmentation, invasive species, and missing understory from mismanaged deer. And in your mind’s eye you see the new 21st century scars from an industrialized landscape dominated by natural gas wells. As Leopold said, “One of the perils of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.”
Yet people need energy. They need cars, suburban homes, red meat, television, and virtual reality. Bread and circuses, without them you have anarchy. Me? I have a container of frog eggs and nothing to drink.