Embers From the Fire
A weekly blog by Deacon Dan Wagnitz for the Quad-Parish Community
Neighbors – 4/2/21
When I was young, I focused on the stories and I easily overlooked just how wrong Walt Disney was in terms of the reality of nature. What Disney got wrong (and still gets wrong) and what many citified people continue to get wrong is that they view nature as this cooperative utopia where creatures all co-exist in harmony. I prefer to say that there is a balance to nature; harmony doesn’t quite describe it correctly.
It is true that if one walks through the woods and fields that there is a great diversity of life. Diversity exists in nature due to the fact that all plants, animals and insects have developed certain characteristics that provide them an edge in the fight for existence in specific conditions. The ferns and marsh marigolds thrive in the cool, moist shaded stream banks. The black spruce and pitcher plant can tolerate the high tannin levels of the bog. The tamaracks join root systems so that they can stand tall in loose loamy soils. The brook trout celebrates the cool pools and rapids of the stream that would stunt the great muskie. Each to its place so that as a whole the pallet is fully textured and multi-hued.
It is interesting to watch waterfowl on the conservancy ponds near my home. The pond that I walked by the other evening reflected this layering aspect of nature. In the forefront and quite limited to one corner were a knot of mallards. The vast majority of the pond and the surrounding shoreline was filled with Canada geese. The far side, furthest from the road, was where the whistling swans were congregated. Small groups of geese and swans kept coming in from their evening feeding to gather on the pond for the evening. The geese all circled and landed into the area already populated with geese. The swans came in deliberately settling into the group of swans. A little bunch of teal though landed into the gathered mallards and settled in as quickly as the pond surface smoothed itself out.
People can err when trying to draw clear correlations between nature and humans. Although we are of nature, we are in fact quite distinct. For one thing we tend to make differences between us that aren’t important and yet we view them as all-important. Like nature we are in constant competition, but unlike nature we seem reluctant to allow the other their place. Nature just requires as little non-interference as possible. People on the other hand require consistent effort at community. We cling to independence yet we require relationship. We are created to join hands and grow forward together. We need to love. We need to be loved. Someday perhaps we can celebrate the primordial and as-yet unrecognized reality that there is only one race of people – the human race.