Where Would We Be Without Nature?

The question posed in the title of this post was raised by my father-in-law whenever we watched Wild Kingdom on television, or followed the flight of the pelicans sailing past the veranda of his condo, or saw an alligator on the golf course.

To be fair, my father-in-law saw far more “nature” than these pedestrian examples imply.  He and his wife explored Africa and Asia and furnished their home with souvenirs from their travels.  He enjoyed retelling those adventures.  I would not characterize him as a nature-enthusiast of the David Attenborough school but rather as an appreciative and privileged tourist.

“Where would we be without nature?” would eventually become sort of a catchphrase among us, his adopted family, because he said it so often.  In his later years, he would have breakfast (his favorite was Cinnamon Squares) at the table next to the kitchen window, where squirrels would jump up onto the concrete sill to harvest the walnut pieces we would scatter along its length, producing what my sister-in-law called “Squirrel TV” for his enjoyment as he ate.

Where would we be without nature?  I would not be here asking that question without having known Tucker, my father-in-law, a man of his time and with his time’s attitude toward nature.

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3 Responses to Where Would We Be Without Nature?

  1. Sue Collins says:

    He woke up every day cheerful and happy to be alive. He was wise and very generous with a big heart. We were lucky that we had each other as family!

  2. Rob says:

    I’ve written a lot about nature for wildlife magazines and others through the years and the overriding thing is our disregard for it. We have state and federal people and private individuals here and around the world making little inroads to holding back small portions of the onslaught, but in general we are heading for a time with small and greatly diminished pockets of what we had. Of the hundreds and hundreds of people I’ve interviewed in 30+ years, no one has been optimistic about the big picture in the long run.

    • Craig says:

      Rob, I think of the arrogance of those who expect that Africa and Brazil should arrest their own development and remain nature preserves for exotic animals, while the United States does next to nothing to halt its own development. Must be that our domestic species, bears and bison and mountain lions and so on, aren’t exotic enough.

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