Please consider this blog as an early summer interlude. A break from more serious Natural musings. The Huntsville Botanical Gardens (http://hsvbg.org/) is currently hosting a few Jurassic guests — animatronic dinosaurs (http://hsvbg.org/event/dinosaurs-uproar-alive/). We visited Saturday with our two local grandsons, 9.5-year-old Jack and 3.25-year-old-Sam.
As we walked into the gardens, Sam talked non-stop about how much he loved dinosaurs and expressed great anticipation in seeing them. Dread, fear, trepidation? Not a chance! He and big brother ran ahead toward the dinosaur exhibit section — until we began to hear faint grunts and roars from the wooded trails ahead. Sam and Jack stood still until we stragglers caught up with them. Sam then chose to walk between Judy and me, holding our index fingers. He’s a little too small yet to grasp an entire adult hand. Each step forward elevated the disturbing audible signals. Sam tightened his grip every few steps.
The TRex soon became visible through the foliage. Finger/hand contact no longer contented and comforted Sam. He demanded that I hold him. Even Jack refused to walk to the display fences and rope cordons, saying with a clear look of consternation that he didn’t want his photo taken. Right! Even in my arms, Sam rebelled. Raw fear prevailed no matter the assurances that I gave him. These critters were extraordinarily life-like.
Once we left that exhibit of nine dinosaurs (five adult; four young ones) and headed toward the outdoor model train area, Sam regained his composure. He once again chattered about how much he likes dinosaurs, and assured us that he had not been afraid.
Would the boys have felt the same visceral reactions if not for having seen movies like Jurassic Park and Jurassic World? Is their fear and trepidation hard-wired? That is, unease (and terror) attributable to nurture or nature? For some reason, Jack still harbors an irrational (my assessment as a snake-lover) fear of snakes. Why? That same why applies to so much that occurs at the intersection of Nature and human nature.
The cure? Exposure, education, understanding, appreciation, and embrace of Nature-inspired learning. And, harnessing Nature’s wisdom to living, learning, and serving. These Jurassic creatures ruled the world; lorded over all of Nature. Yet, one calamitous Earth-collision with a large object from space ended their reign. Their demise was not self-imposed. These small-brained reptiles thrived via brawn, not brain. We humans thrive by virtue of our brains. Yet, we seem resistant to applying and harnessing Nature’s wisdom to steward our Earth. I fear our human-species-Earth-collision may be self-generated and self-inflicted. What will it take to awaken and enlighten us? For Sam and Jack’s sake, I pray that we discover the way before we cross some critical threshold.