Humans are nature. We are violent and cruel, but we can also be strong, loving, and free.
A Forest in Illinois
A mourning dove sits in a tree. She glances around the forest. It is peak mating season, and she sees two males on the ground, fighting each other. She wishes she could tell them to stop, but she cannot.
The dove watches them fight, and the bigger one pecks the smaller one on his neck, bloodying him.
How odd, that since the males were born with testosterone and she with estrogen, that the males would be pitted against each other, violently tearing at each other to hump her.
When the smaller one retreats, the big one flutters up to her, and begins the mating process, his hard won battle.
May 10th, 1940
Freda looked out the window onto the street. It was normally bustling and cheerful, but now it radiated fear and violence. Tanks and soldiers marched through the streets, waving red flags with black symbols on them. Freda was young, only eight, but she knew what they were.
Mama said that the soldiers were called Nazis, and Freda knew they were bad news. Whispers behind closed doors, stress written all over Mama’s face. Mama said they wanted Jewish people to die. Freda and Mama weren’t Jewish, but Mama’s close friend’s family was.
The bad man Hitler that Freda had heard about on the radio led the Nazis. Freda wanted to see him, but also didn’t.
Freda knew things were going to get bad.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee (In the Smoky Mountains)
A scrawny fox crept through the snowy forest. The sky was grey as morning, and the fox was skinny. He had gone in search of food, but it had been several days since he’d had more than some dried up berries. Even water was scarce.
The winter was cruel. The fox continued his journey to a creek he knew wasn’t completely frozen over, and hoped maybe there were some minnows there.
As he reached the creek, he stumbled upon a dead rabbit. He was sure it had starved, and he began to eat. He knew that he’d be able to make it through the winter now, despite this yearly occurrence, winter.
March 25th, 1911
Manhattan, New York City
Ellen sat at her station, sewing garments. She smelled a whiff of something burning, but passed it off. After all, it was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, full of machinery and people smoking cigarettes.
Suddenly, another worker cried “FIRE!”
Ellen shot up, dropping her sewing. Voices around the room rose above the superintendents telling workers to calm down. Ellen sniffed deeply and definitely smelled acrid smoke. Ellen turned to her friend Mary, and asked frantically, “Mary, aren’t we locked in?”
Mary stared, terror filling her eyes. “Oh shit, you're right! We might have to jump out the window.”
Ellen looked around. “Oh, we might be saved. I think the fire started in that rag bin, look, the superintendent is using the hose to put it out.”
The women watched as the frazzled superintendent turned on the hose. All the workers watched, silent, waiting expectantly.
And. The. Damn. Hose. Didn’t. Work.
The room erupted into chaos. Cries pierced the air, as people succumbed to the spreading flames, and people pitching themselves out of the window, dying on impact.
Ellen and Mary tried to escape, pounding on the fire exits, which were locked by the cruel owners.
No one heard them get silenced by the smoke.
Epping Forest, Essex, England
The trees appear different and independent aboveground. The real strength lies under the soil.
Think of Avatar. The soul trees in that movie are connected, right?
That happens in real life too. The tree's roots are interconnected, and the natural balance of different tree types with different root types balances each other out.
The cedar intermingles with the oak.
The maple ensnares in the beech’s roots.
The fir can feel the pear tree.
Everything is interconnected with tree roots.
David clutches his wife’s hand. She has been pregnant for nine months, gone through seven hours of labor, and is now having contractions.
“I’m so proud of you, Elaina. So proud.” he says.
She is locked in her own world, her eyes not seeing him. Elaina is focusing on her child, the instinct of her ancestors.
David knows this. He thinks that she’s maybe the most beautiful he’s ever seen her, the strongest he’s ever known someone to be.
With her face devoid of makeup, bags under her eyes, she’s natural. Her hair is matted, and she’s making sounds of determination.
David will wait all day for the baby. Elaina pushes, pushes, pushes, and then the nurse whisks the baby away, cleans him off, and swaddles him up, bringing the newborn to his young mother. Elaina’s eyes fill up with tears of joy, and tears stream down David’s cheeks. Crying more than his wife, he’s glad to.
Elaina cradles her baby, staring at his small red face. His eyes are closed, but he opens them briefly, and they are a dark blue. Dark hair frames his face. Elaina laughs softly. “I can’t believe this. He looks just like you.”
“And you.” David says. Elaina hands him the baby, and he inhales the sweet baby smell.
The couple becomes a trio, and a few years later becomes a quartet.
Mount Fuji, Japan
A family of sheep live on a farm. Their owners are kind, and they have a lovely pasture on Mt. Fuji.
The ram wanders the perimeter of the fence, keeping a watchful eye on the ewe and her lamb. She lets her baby suckle for a little while, and when he is fed, wanders behind him as he explores the pasture. She nudges him when they both approach the ram. When it is time to sleep, she cuddles up next to her lamb and sleeps next to him.
The ram watches the loving mother rest, his mate. He fathered the lamb, and watches out for them both. He knows they are safe from wolves and other things, but it is his duty to his mate and child.
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Tenneh holds her son, Abdul’s, hand, as they cross the busy street into the supermarket. Tenneh loves her son very much, and when they enter the store, she indulges in a pint of his favorite ice cream.
Abdul giddily runs into the house and fixes himself a bowl, and Tenneh asks for some. Her son graciously hands her a bowl, and together, they eat their ice cream.
A Town That Is Right On A Forest
You are walking along a path surrounded by trees. People live in this place, but you stop upon an abandoned bicycle by the side of the road.
A tree is wrapped part way around the yellow bike, and moss grows on the north side of the bike.
It reminds you of how free nature is, and how useless humans are to stop its reach.
Though several cultures have tried putting the power of nature into a god or saint’s hands, Nature itself is a power no god can wield.
They can manipulate it, but not completely control it.
Antonio watches his best friend Juana straddle her bike and tear down the road, her dusty, barefoot feet helping the bike skid to a stop in front of him. She smiles, laughing as he picks her up off of her bike. He puts her down and they run through Antonio’s family’s property.
They are as wild and free as the wind.