Sunday morning I went for a walk down our driveway, which is lined with woods that stand mostly untended by human hands. The day was gray but the sky was brightening with wisps of blue showing through the low clouds. A fierce storm had blown through in the early morning darkness, a wind-driven rain lashed by lightning, the kind of storm that always makes me feel glad to be tucked into a warm bed.
Saturday morning I was driving down Mary Kitchens Road on Garcon Point when I began to ask myself, when did all those wildflowers pop up on the shoulders? Sure, I had been seeing the fall flowers coming on, but how did they go from coming on to a cornucopia overnight?
Watching last week’s great flood from out of town was unsettling. We had been in Pittsburg for a nephew’s college graduation, and on that Tuesday night found ourselves on a plane circling Pensacola.
The pilot said heavy rain over the airport was delaying our arrival, but don’t worry, we have plenty of fuel. 20 minutes later he said there was still a nasty storm cell over the airport and he was waiting for it to move.
Mahatma Gandhi is famously quoted as saying that, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” By that standard, the United States often falls short, especially if you judge us by the factory farms providing so much of our meat.
But good and evil are often neither black or white. As in most judgments, you need to exercise some, well, judgment.
In that light, some recent actions by the uber animal – us – have put us in a pretty good light. At least, it bodes well for the people involved.
Given that I’m known for going off on rants about the perceived evils of technology, fairness compels me to also note how sometimes technology can enhance even the experience of the natural world.
This past Saturday brought us a classic fall Northwest Florida day. The decidedly low-tech mechanical barometer on the dining room wall, and the old-fashioned liquid-filled thermometer on the porch told the story: high pressure, low humidity, temperatures in the upper 40s and rising under a crystal-clear and limitless blue sky. Gentle sunshine bathed the landscape.