Humans have long considered themselves the top of the food chain and tried to mold nature to their whims, but in recent years, nature has exerted itself and proved repeatedly that Mother Nature can still defeat man. The sad truth is that man had begun to believe that he could subjugate nature to his whims. Wild animals were domesticated and sent to zoos, the wind was harnessed to power the human cities and forests were turned into asphalt jungles. Then, in 2005, actually beginning in December, 2004, nature attacked with a fury to make sure that mankind knew exactly who was in charge.
The tsunami in Southeast Asia was the warning shot across the bow. Mother Nature followed up with the most devastating Atlantic storm season in history. By the time Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, named storms had threatened the southern United States almost a dozen times and when Rita tore through Houston just weeks later, the country and most of mankind stood in fear of nature’s vengeance. Suddenly, we knew once again who was in charge.
Personally, I have also felt more connected to nature then I believe most people do. I long to watch the squirrels and birds play in m backyard and smell the night jasmine when it blooms in the summer. There is nothing like watching the first crocus of the spring peak through the snow and the lilacs herald the arrival of the warm weather. My yard comes alive in the spring and Mother Nature reminds me that I am dependent on her splendor and good nature to feed me and clothe me.
Like most people I would like to believe that we have risen above the challenge of living in a cave and acting as hunter/gatherers. But the reality is for all our manipulation of glass and steel, we are still subject to nature’s whims. A Kansas town can be wiped off the map by the angry night winds. A city of a million people can be decimated and washed into the Gulf. With no warning, flood waters can pour through a Dallas suburb and steal children away to their deaths. Nature plays an important role in our lives and the more we try to pretend it doesn’t, the more that nature sneaks up and whacks us with a wakeup call to respect her.
More than a century ago, Chief Joseph proclaimed that what we do the beasts of the earth, we soon to do ourselves. Unfortunately, most of society has yet to learn the lesson and understand that we cannot control the forces of nature. Instead, they proclaim that we are in control of the planet and that we effect what the climate is doing. It seems ridiculous to assume that we can control the climate when we cannot even protect ourselves from hurricanes and tornadoes. We can have a negative effect on the world around us and do need to start taking care of nature instead of fighting against it, but we need to begin by setting aside our arrogance and restoring ourselves to our natural role as protector of the Earth.