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.