Like many animals, wild ponies can sense a drop in barometric pressure. When a storm threatens, they know to seek shelter in hilly areas and huddle together with their rumps facing the oncoming wind.
As a species, we’ve somehow survived large and small ice ages, genetic bottlenecks, plagues, world wars and all manner of natural disasters, but I sometimes wonder if we’ll survive our own ingenuity.
Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable.
Habitats keep evolving new pageants of species, and we shouldn’t interfere.
We try to exile ourselves more and more from nature – not always consciously: We build houses; we dismiss nature; nature has to be outside, because we’re inside. God forbid something like a cockroach comes inside, or some dust.
Artificial intelligence is growing up fast, as are robots whose facial expressions can elicit empathy and make your mirror neurons quiver.
The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature’s precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature.
All relationships change the brain – but most important are the intimate bonds that foster or fail us, altering the delicate circuits that shape memories, emotions and that ultimate souvenir, the self.
I like knowing that the further back one traces any lineage, the narrower the path grows, to the haunt of just a few shaggy ancestors, with luck on their side, little gizmos in their cells and a future storied with impulses and choices that will ultimately define them.
Touch seems to be as essential as sunlight.