Post-trip ruminating

Oakland has its appeal, and for all the danger and grime I actually enjoy living there. But I hear stories about bears wandering along the shores of San Francisco Bay and I have trouble picturing it. They were all long gone before I was even born, and it never even occurred to me that they had been there.

I was thinking about it, and I started to wonder:

How much more can we lose, from generation to generation, and forget about, before we actually start to suffer, irrevocably, from the cumulative loss? Will we eventually reach a point where we will live our entire lives without ever seeing animals other than pets and livestock? The very idea of animals surviving independent of humans will seem absurd, since all the independence was bred out of them years ago.

What will we miss? Can it be described? What will each of us do?

I imagine one of my grandchildren standing in a grassy field. There are no birds, so to relieve the silence, she plays some music on her phone. There are no animals to encounter, so to relieve the loneliness, she starts texting one of her friends. All the plants look like the plants everywhere else, so to relieve the visual boredom, she starts playing a puzzle game. “Nature is boring, granddad. Why were you so into it, anyway?”

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