Minoru Track, Richmond
Beneath the grassy shade of a statue, I wait. Cleats half-tied, empty water bottle in hand, warm sweat trickling down my forehead, what little shade the statue provides feels blissful, even luxurious. Two hours of soccer drills in the ever-beating sun may be fun, but take their toll, and now, I daydream of air conditioner and ice-cold lemonade. But mom’s silver Mazda is nowhere in sight, so here I wait. And I take in the view. First to grab my attention is the sky: cotton candy stretched across a light-blue backdrop, rugged textures to my right then soft, sweeping arcs of white that take my eye across the landscape. Then there’s the foreground. Crisp, clean structures pleasing to the eye, and quite clearly human-made. I play a game with myself and try to find something that isn’t artificial or isn’t a result of human choices. I find nothing.
The grass, the trees, even the weeds only exist because someone has put them there or allowed them to exist within a restricted, very controlled area. Were a tree branch to grow a little too long or a wasp nest to appear in the greenery, they would be cut or knocked down. Don’t get me wrong- I love how well-kept the place looks and that I can walk without looking out for stingers, I’m just saying that the fact that we take these precautions is proof of us wanting to feel control over the natural world.
The sense of control created by human actions might explain why we feel so threatened by wildlife, by natural disasters and by a global pandemic. We spend so much time in our orderly, engineered bubbles that we forget that we are not above nature as we pretend to be. We play God, putting nature in zoos and flowerpots and frames, and ignore the fact that we, ourselves are just one meteor away from the dinosaurs.
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