Instinct for Building


White froth packed into frozen slurry

Broken only by pools of deep blue

And streaks of shining silver

On the edge, the gulls in light.


We aren’t the only builders on the planet.  Birds of all kinds build nests… ranging from whole canopies of platforms in the treetops of a swamp to individual mud-and-stick waddled together and carefully stuck under a nearby eave.

Of course bees are well known for their hives and collective activity, but what about the little mice who build soft, wooly habitats under the hood of your lawn tractor?  Or the extensive termite mounds that cross acres of land, creating whole cities underground?

As sentient beings, we change our local biomes in viable, life-sustaining ways daily and have done so for millennia.  But now somehow we’ve also learned to impact this complex system in unforgiving ways.   Our ability to affect the clean air, fresh water, and healthy soils is jeopardizing the future not only of beauty, but of life as we know it.  I think it will be the colonies of ants who will take over what we’ve erected for buildings and cities.  They will survive.

So why do we argue about climate?  We all have an instinct to change it.  Adaptation happens.  We adapt to climate, but also adapt climate to us and our needs.  We change it with every action we take…  whether we grow tomatoes in Vermont or buy them at the store, whether we heat our houses in winter or go to Florida, whether make art or buy it.  We love to change our environment, to transform what we inherit, and yet the planet… each day fills us with awe.