Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Humans are on an unavoidable collision course with nature at times. Lots of people get sentimental about it and start movements to save the seals, save the owls, save the whales. I'm not here to comment about other's convictions, but it seems that we are a bit choosy about our sentimentalities.

I drove home from Sault Ste Marie on Monday. Nine hours of collision with nature. No, I didn't hit the beautiful bull moose drinking from a pool, or the cinnamon bear posing for a tourist's camera. That would have been a shame . . . collisions of that type are lose/lose for both both the human and nature. But I did collide none the less. If you saw my windshield and front grill, you would understand. They're covered with a blanket of black flies and mosquitoes, an occasional moth, a few woodpecker feathers, and a small amount of squirrel urine (the squirrel escaped with his life, but I'm certain he wet himself in sheer terror).

I expect you to feel a little sympathy for the woodpecker. I did too, but not enough to swerve into the grill of a tractor trailer. I've seen enough of those kinds of collisions to know that they never have a happy ending. You might even feel a modicum of sympathy for the moths. But no one, I repeat no one feels sorry for a blackfly. Or a mosquito. How's that for fairness. 9,372,562 insects smushed on my car, and not a single tear is shed. My sister-in-law, who is philosophical by nature, suggested that it's difficult to have sentiments about creatures with exoskeletons.

Be that as it may, I say we humans are fickle. We value nature according to the harm or good, pain or pleasure that it gives us. Are you fuzzy and cute? We deify you in the form of a stuffed animal. Are you a hard-hearted, buzzing, blood-sucking picnic ruiner? We commit mass murder with poisonous chemicals. Don't get me wrong. I'm not on the bugs' side. I just thought I should show you life from their perspective. Having said that, it's hard to ignore the fact that the sand flies are swarming through the bedroom window screen (that's right - through the screen) and having their evening snack at my expense. Where's that Raid can?

There is one fly out there that gave his life to become world famous. If you haven't seen the clip, click here.

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