Of Politics and Nature

Two topics today. First, Amos offers some observations about the election; second, some observations about the roles of nature on the one hand and mariner on the other.

֎ The campaign between Donald and Joe has strung out far too long but finally has ended. There is a tendency to believe that once Donald is gone, the Federal psyche will return to normal. Alas, this is not the case. Donald has reformed the GOP from the ground up; many elected Congressmen are staunch conservatives and further are social extremists as well. One Congressman even supports QAnon.

Cleaving the head of the GOP (Donald) is more like cleaving the head of Medusa – leaving her many snakes to run off in every direction. It will take at least one and likely two more Federal elections before the GOP has ferreted out the extremists and develops a new legislative base that focuses on the current century.

֎ Mariner is experiencing a micro-example of what cattle ranchers experience in western states where the wolf has been reintroduced to the balance of nature as an apex predator – and protected from human hunting as well.

Mariner’s backyard is an amateur attempt at creating a private, green and pleasant environment that blocks out the fact that he lives in the midst of three used car lots each with massive concrete slabs a helicopter can land on and huge multi-port garages. [The reader may recall an earlier post where it was observed that many homes in his town have too many vehicles to park off the street therefore forcing the extra cars to park at the curb. Blame the abundance of vehicles on U.S housing and wage policies that force grown children to live with their parents because they can’t afford their own residence. The inconvenience is that if cars park at the curb, the streets are too narrow for 2-way traffic.] Homeowners have abandoned the attached garage model and have sacrificed their backyards to something akin to a truck depot.

Mariner apologizes for rambling. Back to his amateur garden.

An abundance of damage to expensive plants and a voracious consumer of the vegetable garden, rabbits are unwanted in mariner’s garden. They are wanted dead, not alive. In recent years he and his neighbor never kill less than a dozen rabbits per year on the property – an oasis amid endless concrete slabs. Helping the mariner with his anti-rabbit campaign are two or three stray cats that do their share of finding and eliminating rabbits. Within mariner’s garden, cats are an apex predator.

However, like the cattle rancher who understands the role of the wolf in nature but doesn’t appreciate the loss of cattle, mariner must respect the cats for their role but the cats do not limit themselves to rabbits. All the small rodent-like creatures are prey as well and, alas, so are birds.

Mariner prides himself on offering a pleasurable environment and bounty to birds, squirrels and selected insects. He maintains two birdbaths in his gardens. Until recently it was not uncommon to see whole flocks of sparrows and finches sitting around the entire perimeter of the birdbath. Higher class birds like doves, cardinals, crows and jays are regular visitors. The Monarch is afforded a row of milkweed. Is this not the Garden of Eden?

Unfortunately, yes. Nature keeps things rolling by allowing oversight by many kinds of predators – except for H. sapiens, who has become a problem just like mariner’s rabbits.

One of the cats has learned to sit by one of the birdbaths. The cat hides under an adjacent Baptisia shrub. When a bird lands on the birdbath the cat leaps faster than the eye can follow to catch the bird. Birds aren’t stupid. They don’t visit this ol’ watering hole anymore.

While this doesn’t cost mariner income, it puts his sense of justice into a dilemma. His feelings are contested just as those of the cattle farmer. There is a difference in scale, of course, but not sympathy. Mother Nature is tough.

Ancient Mariner