It all starts with the water.
There was a time when all of this was magnified. There were more creatures then. Birds that were easy for hunters to kill. Fish that were too tasty and too dumb for their own good. Don't get me started on the Bison. The plains weep for their absence.
It can be a hairshirt if you let it. It can be the catalyst for your insanity. It can leave you breathless. But you might as well hold onto your breath. The cards have been dealt. No point crying over spilt milk. Or extinction, I guess.
Sometimes, I wish that my girls could go back forty years to when I was young. There were more insects then. More hatches for the trout. There were more birds of prey circling the sky. It wasn't hard to see a bobcat. A coyote. It wasn't hard to look at the water without thinking of microplastics.
This is why old men seem crotchety. It's a defense mechanism. It's a way to protect the sensibilities that no longer make sense. You may say, "Get off my lawn!" But you may mean, "Go into the woods. Find a fallen tree. Collect the insects for bait, and witness the majesty of the brook trouts' spots. Quickly, there are fewer native brookies every year, and the stocked trout just aren't the same. They're raised on pellets, not hatches. They don't belong."
I don't want to live in the dystopian novels I read under the covers in Middle School. I want the Amazon to stay a mysterious jungle instead of Amazon delivering clockwork oranges to me packaged in dead trees. I want to turn back the years. It's sad for a man of forty-four years to be able to see such changes. I guess that's the way it goes.
I remember when a coke cost fifty cents.
But you know what? Fuck it. Stare at the puddle. The puddle is life, and as long as it is there, something will remain. Once the earth sheds the oppressive humans who bend her to their will. Once the insects come back in full force. Once the earth begins to breathe again.