Andrea Appleton at The New England Review:
Many of us desperately want to preserve the thing we call nature or wilderness. But because we’ve destroyed so much, it is a slippery business to save what remains. If we don’t erect predator-proof fences, the world will lose the rabbit-eared bandicoot, a marsupial rodent with giant ears and a long pink nose. And we’ll lose the Newell’s shearwater, a seabird that brays like a donkey and dives down 150feet to catch squid. If we dobuild the fences, we lose the luxuriant creative abandon that produced these creatures. We create a demonstration plot of what once was.
A demonstration plot is not enough. I believe it’s the uncontained riot of the natural world that speaks to us. We seek a glimpse at the machinery of life. We seek a sobering corrective, a rough estimation of what the world might look like without us. We seek an escape hatch from our incessant selves, an impartial space. The coyote eats the baby rabbit, or the rabbit gets away. Both of those things happen at one time or another, and one is not better than the other. A fence, by contrast, takes sides. It declares who can eat whom.