BAGWAN GETS CLOSE TO NATURE……zuki finds solace in squirrel droppings

a foxGood Morning Microcosms,

There have been many people throughout history known for their contributions to wildlife and enhancing the natural beauty nature provides. From the earliest days of recorded history mankind has sought to surround himself with diverse beauty that would greatly add to the serenity of life’s rich pageant.

The terraced garden at Babylon watered from pumps contained in the Euphrates constructed by Nebuchadnezzar around 600 BC is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This need for tranquil seems to be inherent to man and certainly plausible to think it’s now in our collective DNA.

Natural history, as a discipline, has existed since classical times, and fifteenth-century Europeans were very familiar with Pliny the Elder’s Historia Naturalis (40–79 C.E.; Natural history). Throughout the early modern period, natural history continued to be acknowledged as the science that described the three kingdoms of the natural world: animals, plants, and minerals.

Ansel Adams’s rich black and white photographs of nature are highly acclaimed and cherished by collectors, Charles Darwin gave us the theory of evolution, and John Audubon has painstakingly documented 1,065 American birds with life-sized portraits. All these men have left important legacies that make our miserable lives a little better.

Consistent with this need to be enveloped by nature, the Bagwan (one of our own) had his own ideas about serene and embarked on an aggressive campaign to convert his backyard into a nature area involving the three kingdoms mentioned above. His first goal was to create a niche for small ground creatures such as rabbits, snakes, mice, squirrels, and surprisingly gophers. I thought he was crazy, but over the next six months he left the lawnmower in the shed and watched natural fescues mesh with the bluegrass.

With all the rain this year and the help of ‘Miracle Grow’ the lawn morphed into a mini-meadow. The only way to see his dog was to watch the grass move. It eventually became chest high so the second phase was to simply wait as nature took its course. Dozens of cottonwood trees sprang up sprouting branches offering additional sanctuaries to birds. Rabbits crawled in through the many holes in the fence and began to breed.

As an unexpected bonus, a family of Foxes moved nearby and kept the rabbit population proportionate to Bagwan’s backyard. As planned the snakes kept the rodents in check while the variety of birds that set up residence kept the increased insect world to a minimum. By anyone’s standard, this mini natural habitat went beyond all expectations and was a complete success! As his plot of ‘happy’ approached twelve feet word of his accomplishment spread and people showed up willing to pay by the hour to study his miniature forest.

At first his neighbors didn’t understand nor did they see the big picture. A petition was circulated that got about 100 signatures asking our friend to mow his backyard and maintain a more ‘groomed’ appearance.

Their collective shortsightedness and assumption he was just lazy angered my good friend. Before I could talk sense into him he threatened to confront each person listed and explain what he was doing. If they didn’t like it….”f–k um!” Having said this though, something happened he hadn’t anticipated; it changed everything.

Our friend the Bagwan has a grandson named Cole that stays with him on the weekends. He is the light of his life and more precious than his gun. By the end of August the grasses, underbrush, and new trees were well over twelve feet high. Young Cole was playing on the observation deck right outside the back door and had been in plain sight of the Bagster while he prepared lunch.

The phone rang. It was an old friend so he became engaged in conversation and looked away from little Cole not more than 30 seconds. He glanced up to check but couldn’t see him. He walked outside to the observation deck and still didn’t see any sign of him. He ended his conversation and called out for young Cole.

From somewhere within the dense growth he heard a small voice cry out “Poppo I’m scarred!” Oh my God, he was in the nature area and had gotten lost! The holy man immediately prepared to search for him by securing his compass and GPS receiver. He intended to grid the yard and systematically cover each square foot of his ecosystem. Yet this wasn’t his biggest fear. Foxes have been known to drag small children into their dens and munch on their tender flesh. The thought of it made his skin crawl. “Poppo please find me” little Cole sobbed.

Two hours later Bagwan found his precious grandson unharmed. That was the good news. Cole laid on the couch in the fetal position and wept continually never moving. It was obvious he’d become traumatized from the ordeal and may need psychiatric help.

As much as it pained him he knew what he had to do. The neighborhood was filled with small children, so rather than risk another tragic disappearance a tree removal company was contracted to dismantle his mini-forest and nature area. With a few tears, our Bagwan cranked up the lawnmower finishing off the last of the thicket.

You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the neighbors.