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A man's thoughts...

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  • pat scala
    A future for deer by Stewart Waller I was driving along Cole Mill Road the other day, thinking about deer. When I was younger, I lived out in the country on a
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2010
      A future for deer
      by Stewart Waller
      I was driving along Cole Mill Road the other day, thinking about deer.
      When I was younger, I lived out in the country on a plot of forest largely
      populated by deer. I felt connected to nature. I didn't allow hunting on my land
      and would foolishly confront any hunter crossing my forest. When I saw dead deer
      on the country roads, slaughtered from collisions with cars or trucks, I felt
      sorry for the deer and wondered, naively, what could be done to protect them. In
      short, in those days, I was squarely on the side of the deer.

      These days, I'm much more practical. So. While heading for the I-85 east exit en
      route to the LKQ junkyard on Route 70, to find a discontinued valve for my old
      Villager van, I thought of deer as a hazard to cars and a nuisance to
      homeowners. Like big squirrels, these refugees of habitat disruption had, to my
      mind, become the problem.

      But I'm not one to hold a simple thought for long. I merged onto I-85, flanked
      by 18-wheel trucks spewing smoke and noise. My thoughts turned to the traffic
      and where it all came from. I leapt backward in time to the Industrial
      Revolution, when technological advances created an unprecedented boom in human
      population. Then I jumped forward to the Green Revolution, whose crop scientists
      manufactured the chemicals to grow the crops to feed the population, all of
      which required a great deal of energy, but fueled the growth to what it is

      Then it occurred to me that we humans had become the only species to thrive
      outside the bounds of natural equilibrium, allowing us to grow unconstrained by
      the scarcity of local resources. For the most part - in the developed world -
      our populations no longer shrink, expand and migrate in response to local
      environmental conditions. Today, human populations fluctuate in response to
      political and economic conditions. We trespass arbitrary national borders at
      great risk to secure a better income, or to flee the violence of political and
      criminal tyranny. Just like deer, human refugees are also being displaced by
      habitat disruption, of a different kind.

      I shuddered at the immensity of the picture in my mind; at the sheer
      unsustainable weight of it all. Then, I reconsidered natural equilibrium and
      how, eventually, we will once again be culled into line with nature. In a moment
      of clarity, I glimpsed the future. A future when one or two centuries of human
      expansion will, inevitably, collapse into the geological record.

      At the junkyard, the warm sun presented a post-apocalyptic snapshot of humans
      scavenging the desolate graveyard of their own industrial progress. Just beneath
      their feet, I imagined, a thick stratum will reveal evidence of an Atomic Age.
      An age of consumption. An era when mankind, hamstrung by an economy of its own
      design, never colonized space, nor cured cancer, nor traveled through time. An
      age when humans, in a vain attempt to master the forces of nature, simply ran
      out of time.

      And in that graveyard I envisioned, the deer would no longer be a hazard to
      Stewart Waller lives in Durham.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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