As I write this, my eyes are starting to resemble those of a fancy goldfish, and I’m sneezing in multiples. I never sneeze. The roof of my mouth feels like it’s covered in burlap. It’s that time of year again, and I’m being incapacitated by ragweed- a plant, and an unimpressive one at that. Mother nature is powerful in subtle ways, and once in a while, she likes to remind me that I am most certainly not at the top of the food chain.
This is not the first time I’ve been reminded of this. I’ve seen trees fall on cars in our driveway. I’ve had to look after my dog when he slashed his foot on zebra mussels. I’ve waited out a passing tornado in a hotel lobby. I’m always the first one to get eaten alive by mosquitoes. My relationship to nature is not a perfect one. In fact, nature scares me a little. I don’t camp. I don’t hike. I don’t consider all creatures cute and cuddly.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the environment. Mother Nature and I may not be warm and fuzzy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect her work, and it doesn’t mean I wish her any harm. I may be a geeky suburbanite who’s overly-dependent on my cell phone, but I’m also a proponent of acknowledging my place in the ecosystem in an honest way. I know that I’m a little speck, connected to all kinds of other little specks. If anything, being a little on edge in the great outdoors has made me more humble about my place in the great scheme of things.
No, I will never abandon my worldly possessions to go and live in a tree house. I don’t wear dresses made of wheat and yes, once in a while, I squish a bug instead of scooping it up and taking it outside. I admire people who are all in, environmentally speaking, but it’s not me. I can still, however, recycle, drive less, eschew pesticides and support free-range farming. I can refrain from thinking that my being human means that other organisms are meant to do my bidding. Mother nature makes me itchy and frustrated, but then again, so do a lot of other human beings, and I don’t make a habit of stomping all over them. I prefer to see her and I as oddball roommates, both doing our thing and trying not to get in each other’s faces. I just wish she wouldn’t leave all this pollen all over the apartment.