Speed Limits Protect More than People
Wildlife sees no roads, or boundaries.
Watching humans struggling with their humanity on my street. I see the speed limit sign declaring 25 miles per hour from my dining room window. It's invisible to the drivers of cars on my street, though.
14th Street isn't a thoroughfare, nor does it lead directly to anything remotely necessary in daily living, unless you live on 14th Street. It's difficult to drive safely within speed limits here. I see drivers fighting their vehicle trying to convince it to slow down. Their faces show the depth of the struggle to convince their car or truck it doesn't need to be so aggressive. Their vehicle bucks and revs in disagreement. I am puzzled, as our big truck and I have no trouble seeing and executing speed limits. We've never argued once about speed.
Conservation is empathy in action. Consider your impact.
The same disagreement between man and machine plays out, behind our yard, in an open field, between lawn crew people and their stand-on lawn mowers capable of street speeds. One mower on the east side plows through 6-inch-deep standing water and grass, in the pouring rain. Another mower on the west side blowing through 4-inch-deep standing water and grass under the same pouring rain. They look like jet skiers in the Gulf of Mexico waters.
Making a big difference doesn't require big changes.
Between these mowers wonders Simone, a Muscovy hen, and her 7 three-day old ducklings. Meanwhile, on14th Street, Penelope, another Muscovy hen, and her 5 older ducklings, bathed in the gutter under falling rains.
I watched as a man fighting with his truck turn onto 14th Street and barrel on between my view of our ducks and his disagreeable speeding truck rooster tailing silt, water, and puddles behind. The driver fought on. His failure continued out of sight. Two unconscious baby ducks with panicking siblings and mom were left behind.
I ran out to the street, gathered the injured, and led all to our established tall monkey grasses lining our front porch. The two ducklings didn't have injuries or blood I could see, but they were loopy in head. I laid them gently on the soft monkey grass and stepped away. Mom and siblings gathered around. She calmed her clutch. They settled in for a moment's peace and recuperation. I put a bowl of water near them. No more of this street shenanigans. My heart can't take watching humans failing humanity.
That's when I remembered Simone in the back field between men arguing with machines. I ran to look out the back windows. She was pinned between mowers moving ever closer to each other, the center, and her family. It's one thing to move quickly as an adult duck. You just fly. It is another when you are a female with freshly hatched young. She'll fight first. She fought a male off the day before. A hen will fight to the death for a new clutch.
The scene was too far away to run or call out to, I went outside in a feeble attempt to gain the closer mower's attention. Which I did not. Simone negotiated clearance and safety, barely. I thought she lost multiple ducklings at first glance. The mowers never slowed down. They did not bother to give way; these humanity void humans had no interest in doing a kindness or a care.
To make a difference, start at home.
Eventually the mowers ceded into the distance and cut engines. The rain left the sun to fight for its turn. I looked out to the front of the house and found Simone, under the tree behind the water bowl. Seven little ducklings chased falling rain drops from the branches above.
I ran back to the windows overlooking the field now empty of lawn mowers. Penelope counting heads. Or attempting to as her ducklings were busy in shaved grasses and puddles.
Protecting nature, a human resource of beauty and wonder, requires a change of mind and focus. Less of ourselves, more of what is around us.
Asking a human where their humanity went is akin to asking a human where their tail went. Homo Sapiens; wise man, an unfulfilled wish spoken in Latin.