Deluge – The Aftermath

We live in Colorado, which at this time, late September 2013, has seen more than its share of rain. In fact, unprecedented amounts. A few people have been killed, hundreds still unaccounted for, thousands with lost or damaged homes. Given vicious and widespread wildfires of the past several years, and now this torrent, the term “come hell or high water” fits very neatly into Colorado’s environmental experiences as of late.

Still, amid the devastation, some benign phenomena emerge. Nearly two years of consecutive drought months have ended. Lakes and reservoirs are refilling. Soil that had seen fire and withering dry air is being charged with water again, allowing for new growth.

Now, Grandma and I, in our little pocket of the world, have experienced very little of this, except to look at the news and say, “That’s terrible!” The worst experience we got out of it was what happened to our yard. And in the big picture, it’s not worth mentioning. But I will anyway.

See, I’m not the world’s best yard minder or gardener, and by “not the world’s best” I mean in the sense that Genghis Khan was not the world’s best pacifist. I struggle terribly with the yard. I water the grass, and it turns brown. I spray weed killer, and the weeds spring up, refreshed and begging for more. I mow the yard, and the lawnmower orders me back to the bench so someone competent can take over. Flowers curl up and wither when they see me coming. The only plants that rejoice at my presence are the dandelions and thistles. The best compliment I can hope for with my yardwork is, “Well, you’ve been trying.”

So back to the flood. While the tempest raged around us, and highways crumbled, and houses became unwilling and disintegrating riverboats, I took a little time out from wallowing in viewing these devastating tragedies to look out the window and selfishly think, “Hey, the rain is turning the yard green,” and, “I guess I won’t mow again today.”

But ultimately, the rains stopped, and mow I must. So I trundled out the Honda, fired it up, and started pushing.

As I looked over the waiting landscape, I noticed (besides the jungle-like growth) a proliferation of spider webs dotting the greenery. Now, spiders don’t bother me. What bothers me are mosquitos, and spiders eat mosquitos, so the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But I did wonder why there seemed to be so many.

But not for long. As the lawnmower growled and chomped its way through the growth, clouds of midges and gnats rose from the grass in front of me. I mean, lots of them. Then I realized that the last couple weeks of so much water, unattended lawn, and a population explosion of little insects undoubtedly resulted in a feast for kings for the arachnids. It would be like a well-stocked smorgasbord that’s open and free to the public. Except in this case, the eager customers are sucking fluid out of bugs, which probably detracts from the simile.

I finished up the lawn, and it looked more lush and green than it has for the last two (or ten) years. Of course, the filmy white patches of the spiderwebs were gone.

So I ponder. Within their idyllic habitat, the spiders and gnats were living in an evironment that was supplied and maintained by me. So in a sense, if they could think of such things and perceive my existence, I’d sorta be like their God, at least within the perimeter of my yard. And then here comes God pushing Death ahead, and they flee or are overwhelmed by the crunching Merrill hikers or the Roaring Whirling Blades of Death From On High.

If they had sentience, they might perceive it as some terrible retribution, some act of divine petulance. But no. In fact, they didn’t really matter to me.  I was just trying to make my lawn look nicer.

A deity’s indifference can seem to be a terrible thing.

— Grandpa


  1. I’ve had the same thought when I step on an anthill on accident! I’ve also wondered if ants “believe in extra-terrestrials” (other ant hills).

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