Was a time I only counted trees, recently I have found myself rather counting the spaces between the trees, my former compulsion of course suggesting growth, expansion, life, the latter refocusing stagnation, reduction, disease, and death.
Pessimism is the natural companion to any interaction with Homo sapiens, a species utterly submerged in its own import and longevity, having the predisposition, the singular audacity to pronounce itself the chosen, above all other inhabitants of our planet, indeed universe. Any alternative opinion is considered untenable, ridiculous, wholly incomprehensible in a self-serving congratulatory world.
Quite incomprehensibly the greater human knowledge increases, the shallower out pool of understanding, and with another trait of the human condition, that we fail to comprehend we simply imagine, invent, illogically and audaciously, often with the direst consequences.
My lately interest in forestry, horticulture, in the propagation and occasional suppression of all things natural is more philosophic than scientific. Whilst the integral properties of flora are in themselves no doubt worthy of deep study, their relationship and effect on both the immediate space about them occasional casual interaction with nature in general is the subject dearer to mine heart.
Case in point, the noticeable lack of nettles aside the roadways this year, apparently resultant of the decrease of vehicular traffic, and of course gasoline pollutant, due to enforced quarantine. Nettles tend to be a filler growth, springing up wherever space permits. Roadsides offer a large amount of such opportunity, particularly as the more delicate organisms cannot cope as efficiently with carbon pollution. This year, less traffic, less pollution, fewer nettles. Unfortunately, nettles are the favored habitat of many butterfly species. No large plots of curbside nettles, no mass sightings of wonderous lepidoptera this summer.
Counting spaces or indeed the lack of them can illustrate the most compelling tales.