Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Donde esta los armadillos...?

Just finished the February 2007 edition of The Sun and it was outstanding as always. As with each issue, this month's started with an interview...in this case, a journalist by the name of Richard Louv. Louv was speaking about a concept that I found pretty fascinating that he calls "nature-deficit disorder." One of the comments he made that really struck a chord with me was, "There is something in us that needs immersion in nature, and when we don't get that, we don't do well."

I know that's definitely true in my case. For the most part, I never feel more comfortable within my own skin and at peace with the space I occupy on this Earth than when I'm in the desert. (Doesn't necessarily have to be a desert environment, I don't think...though, that's always my preference.) It's one of the rare times when I can really shut my brain down and just...be. Whatever issues I have are left in the car or the motel room and I just become...it probably sounds hokey or cheesy or maudlin, but I just become a completely small, completely anonymous, completely random human exploring and soaking in a much larger world. One that's more beautiful and infinite and simple - a simplicity dictated by the futility of trying to understand its complexity, if that makes sense - than I will ever come close to understanding. I don't know why I find that kind of desolation (for lack of a better word) so comforting, but I do. Maybe it's because it's in that situation, both mentally and physically, that I begin to grasp the concept of "perspective"...my sense of being just feels in better, more proper proportion. I wish I could explain it better...

Anyway, back to the interview. At one point, Louv was discussing a trip he took with his nineteen-year-old son to some of the areas where he spent growing up near Kansas and Missouri. He said the following...

Next we drove up to Kansas City, where I grew up. Along the way, we must've seen thirty dead armadillos on the road. I had never seen even one as a child. It turns out the armadillos' range has expanded out of Texas and up to central Missouri. There's some suspicion this might be caused by global warming, but that also may not be the case. In fact, armadillos have been heading north ever since they crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico in 1850. We have to consider a much longer clock when we talk about the environment and remember that major environmental changes have always occurred.

My brain immediately siezed on that - a-HA! - because it in turn occurred to me that I haven't seen an armadillo - dead or alive - in years. Much like the dust storms we used to get in Dallas when I was a kid. And much like the decent snowfalls (4" - 8") we would also occasionally get, as opposed to the crappy two-inches-or-less we always have gotten since the time I was in junior high, probably. It's just one of those things that disappears so gradually you don't notice it until years later, when something sparks a memory.

They're such cool, cute little critters...I miss armadillos.

Via con dios, armadillo. (And stay away from the roads...!)

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