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Old Mother Nature

By Dr. Dick Wieder

     You know, I just love yard work. There is no more pleasurable activity that I enjoy more than "workin' in the yard. " Mowing. Clipping. Weeding. Planting. Trimming. I love it all! And every couple of years or so, I add a new "yard toy" to my collection. There are two mowers - one an 8 horsepower riding mower. Two weed-trimmers. Several shovels. A wheelbarrow. A couple of rakes. Eighty feet of garden hose. Hedge clippers. And my newest acquisition - an electric blower/vacuum! And about 200 feet of heavy duty electrical cord. Today, as I finished up for the day the realization hit me that it takes about thirty minutes just to put up all those "yard toys"! Couldn't help but wonder out loud as to how in the hell I use to get all my work done before all this crap came along!

     Pooped and exhausted, I sat down to sip some ice tea and to pet my ol' dog, Max. What different worlds we live in Max and me. The sun glistening off my watch band as I stroked his back and ears caught my eye. So steeped am I in scheduling and time. And ol' Max, he doesn't know anything about time, any time, no time. How does he do it? He has no appointments and promises to keep. He seems perfectly content to lie around, scratch, eat, sleep, and defecate. What a life! The only thing he is denied as a dog is the act of reproduction. My wife and I saw to that so he wouldn't wander all over the city and end up getting killed chasing a bitch, through traffic and other folk's yards. He cannot plan, invent, buy, sell, trade, or work in a yard. Yet he is perfectly content. Or so he appears.

     I on the other hand, live in a civilized society governed by a clock and responsibilities. And I . . . I get to work in the yard! Poor Max; he has no idea what he's missing. He has no way to communicate with his own kind in - say Asia. But I can walk up to that box on my kitchen wall and damn near ring up any human being in the world! The real difference in our two worlds, I guess, is that Max doesn't know much about himself. He doesn't know who his mother and father are. He probably doesn't realize that he was even born and that some day he is going to die. The poor thing has no idea as to the nature of this one world we both inhabit. He has no idea of the vastness of the sky above him. Or the distance to the stars. He knows no beauty, no awe. He just is.

     Isn't it strange that ol' Mother Nature hasn't produced more beings with self-awareness? All creatures eat reproduce, sleep, and crawl around the surface of the globe. Some even fly through the air! But only one species truly knows self-awareness. If self-awareness is such a boon to survival, why isn't it popping up all over the place?

     Later that evening I sat down to watch the ABC Evening News. Now, outside of CNN, I think the ABC news is the best evening news program. After all, Peter Jennings is from Canada; and, I figure he can be more objective about what's going on in this country of ours. Well, the main headline that evening was the firing into innocent crowds of demonstration by the Thai Military. The old Yugoslavia was now breaking up into states and ethnic groups I'd never heard of! Now they are killing each other for reasons I don't even hope to understand! And the Jews and Arabs were at it again. Good Lord! They've been fighting since the days of Moses. And maybe even before that. You would think that after 5,000 years - knowing they both "spring from the seed of Abraham" - they would find something to agree on!

     And then like a flash it dawned on me! For God's sake that's why ol' Mother Nature allowed only one species the prize of self-awareness! Only one species that produced a Mozart!  An Einstein! A Christ! Only one species that can stand in awe and humility before the immensity and beauty of creation! Self-awareness separates us from nature in many positive ways. But a price has been paid for this trait. The universe is no free lunch. And there is no free lunch within it. You pays your money and you takes your chances. The price that was paid, the toll extracted is . . . GREED. And ol' Mother Nature, well, maybe she didn't count on this. She got fooled.

     And all of us know that it's not nice to fool Mother Nature.

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