Posts Tagged Nature

Impressions from Humankind and Nature

Looking south from Top of the Rock, New York City

This piece started as a poem, but I am not poetic enough.

I sit, incredulous at the sound of so many trillions of rain drops (and this, a very gentle rain). Closing my eyes, I feel hands crunching foil forever. That is the sound but foil isn’t so magical. The forms of nature that surround me are impossible to comprehend. The cycles of nature are perfect throughout some avenue. The tall and narrow pines are stretching for light. The bursts of Aspen trees, how the rain so perfectly, seemingly, offsets the sun. Or how the two combine, far more powerful than any of humankind’s creations.

Surveying:  Here in Branson, there are tiny hills, steep hills, steep foot hills, and man has tried to tame those with his town.  I’m short on education. I don’t understand the most simple engineering. Our A-frame cabin baffles me. How do they know that the roof will accept the weight of what shall fall on it, relying on that simple, disturbingly-thick log through the middle? Those sides of the structure should wobble back and forth but they stick in place because people have learned. I can’t learn what the people have learned. I can’t manage the physical surroundings of my world. (I can’t manage the mental aspects of my surroundings, but that is a topic for another day.) I count on people who have an education to build these structures, and you’ll see me with my mouth agape at even the smallest engineering concepts. Even things which most people comprehend with the most basic common sense are amazing to me. I sit here and wonder why it is that I cannot keep up with humankind’s engineering brilliance.

Humankind has straight lines of all of the types you will ever imagine, and then when they do those perfect circles, you have to be astounded at how those are created to appear to be so perfect. All of these things that stand that should not stand, in my mind. I see one of the country “opera” houses. It is towering with the front of a Southern mansion, with hundreds of beautifully-crafted, square windows that have lines of small wood frames cutting through at perfect 90-degree angles. Amazing height, columns that appear to be impossible to construct.  Most people might be flabbergasted at how stupid I am, at how these little things that man creates are impossible for me to understand. These things stand as miracles before my eyes, allowing my mind to wander over endless creations of man without ever being satisfied in having understanding.

Yet, I sit here with crinkling tin foil in nature’s surround sound, and I remember that as I drove through town today, the other thing that amazed me is how run down America is. If you open your eyes, man’s creations are crumbling all over, and maybe one piece in a hundred pops up as newly constructed, but how long will it last? When I was in New York City last month, instead of being struck, I was stricken at how that city looked like a modern-day collection of Roman or Greek ruins. When I looked just right, there were no people and it was the most un-survivable mess I have ever seen. I could see that we have failed to survive as a civilization as I saw the most rotten pile of creation ever known – Amazingly, in relative terms, a pile of garbage that did not take long to create. Even the brand new buildings looked to be very near death, perhaps because they were surrounded by death.  So as I sit here, serenaded by nature’s cymbals, it occurs to me that nature’s creation, regardless of its source, a god or some other spiritual, creative flow, is the most powerful, is the only one that seems to last, even after we have worked to destroy it. I am not any kind of environmental wacko, but it was merely frightening to me that no matter how much genius seems to be behind all of these structures that humankind creates for itself, especially the most monumental ones, the ones created to worship the power of our brains and accomplishments, are merely beasts that are temporary like a tiny speck of sand in the huge General Electric engines of a Boeing 747. They are dissipating before they are even finished, just as we are, it seems.

Yet, while I sadly watch it all go faster than it should, I do relish in all of the creature comforts which my brain is far too small for understanding – This computer, the air conditioning, the roof over my head, the heat, the medical care for when I’m broken. Yes, I will enjoy those for as long as I last, or perhaps for as long as they last.

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Blasting Nature With Empty Forms

I decided that it would be fun to respond to Eric’s Monday Photo Prompt. I do not know if the form of my response is in compliance with the rules and I did not have any money for the judges. I love Eric’s pictures – Go check him out.


Escapism is my brush with infamy, but my brain shrinks rapidly as my escapes no longer work. I wish to leave the neighborhood, to head for Terratell Park, not artfully named for a famous man from our city who cut down millions of trees and was thus able to wire the entire town with electricity and telephones. As we get further away, as history gains perspective, sometimes we become more confused on which humans do good things.

I strive to get out of the plastic neighborhood with structured blocks that might curve and then not curve to fool us into thinking that there was some natural essence to how we live. The sidewalks bulge from tree roots, and I must watch carefully as I move quickly, listening to loud music, attempting to get away from the world, or else I trip on one of the bulges in the sidewalk.  It is the broken form of man creating a stumble that feels as though I am going to be face down into this cement which might hurt twice as bad now with our temperature at ten degrees Fahrenheit.  The bulges tell us our forms are wrong, our structures are wrong, and each house is the same as the other but in order to make it tolerable, the ingenious developers reverse floor plans or chop off floors. Each form is so contrary to nature that it seems as though the neighborhood would fall to dust within a year if we were not out with our hoses, our paint, our caulk, our fertilizer, or the multitude of machines we use to groom our forms into acquiescence to our square and empty lives, our lives built on a godless concept of the world where we work to serve as god ourselves, to take a perfect world and foul it all to pieces.

Getting out of our Barbie Doll neighborhood brings glorious feeling. I feel as though I am flying a kite, and nothing could possibly go badly because the wind is beautiful in its care for my graceful and respectful sail, which seems to be most in compliance with our miraculous habitat.

The park has a sandy path which was necessary to keep the joggers feeling as if they were in control of the earth and not the reverse, joggers needing clear boundaries on where they might feel comfortable to lay their feet, not wanting to get lost off course, but also not ever wanting to do something different today from the way it was done yesterday. At least the path is sand and not tar, but I approach the old train station where Mr. Terratell received all of his contaminated nature so as to control his city and bring millions of dollars to his pet poodles and other caretakers.

The center of the old train platform is a yard blanketed with cobblestones and an old evergreen tree surrounded by what we try to call a natural rock wall but is nothing other than chopped rock that is laid in an offsetting pattern. The evergreen, which has been growing under man’s hardline stare for perhaps more than 20 years, in a central position as if we worship it and then we surround the tree with cobblestones as if at one time our city was like Vienna.

We organize our cobblestones to combat the ruinous damage of dirt on our shoes from Wal-Mart, and on top of the cobblestones there is a bench. The style these days is with the rod iron handles and frame with the wood slats. All of these forms, even the tennis shoes from Wal-Mart seem to pollute my will to live, but today, the bench is partially covered with snow. I feel the snow ravaging the bench and creating splinters for the springtime lovers who don’t care to get mixed up in the grass. The old queen evergreen drops poofs of snow and water and these create an amazing pattern on the slats of the bench. Nature comes in to show man that his forms are fully defective. I imagine and then can see clearly, mixed up in this nature, are the ghosts of family members of Terratell who lost their lives at a young age while he was collecting poles of wood.  I intently see marks of two butts which had sat down so lightly on the bench that they did not crush the snow or pack the snow, but they poofed it – Yes, nature and ghosts have an incredible talent for poofing.  Maybe that is man’s problem – He masters his forms and structures, but he no longer poofs.

No matter, for nature and ghosts have rendered our bench irreconcilable with any human activity, have returned the bench to nature and have installed the most outstanding shapes within the snow that you will ever see.

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