Wild Corner

When we buy a house, I am pretty sure I’ll be able to convince my fiancĂ© to let me have a wild corner as part of our yard.

I mean a fenced-in place where we don’t do any landscaping at all, just letting the land go back to what it was before human meddling. I think it would be fascinating to watch as the months and years went on. It would be a model for how the whole yard–the whole neighborhood, probably–would go wild if left alone. I’m not talking about making habitats for creatures to come and stay. I’m not trying to make a zoo. And I’m not a bird; I shouldn’t be making a bird house. Birds are perfectly capable of making their own houses and, if they like my wild corner, they’ll build just fine by themselves there.

Why would I even want this ever? Besides just being an awesome and beautiful “what would happen if…” experiment, I really enjoy natural landscapes and I really hate doing (what I consider to be pointless) yardwork. So, if I just leave my land alone, it will go back to being beautiful all by itself , and I won’t ever have to mow the lawn or trim the bushes or pull the weeds or rake the leaves or whatever.

I do still want a garden. Probably three gardens. I just don’t like lawns. A boring square of high-maintenance grass that burns in the sun and grows high in the summer and gets stepped on and blah blah blah. Grass is a stupid ground covering, IMHO, in places, like the Northeast where I live, where the land is naturally forest, not grassland. If I want grass, I’ll go west.

How cool would it be to have your own little forest to explore in your backyard? Think of all the animals that would come to live there as the years went on. You could see tons of song birds, woodpeckers, small mammals, maybe even an owl. Not to mention butterflies and fireflies in the summer. If time goes on long enough you could get visits from foxes and deer.

I’m a big believer in creating a safe and controlled environment for humans, and leaving the wild environments wild. My ideal city is an insulated dome with UV protection, wind protection, earthquake protection, etc. Any natural species we find friendly (most trees, plenty of flowers, songbirds–basically the nice stuff you’d find in a city park) would be all over the place so you can get as much nature as possible. Plus people could have gardens, etc.

But outside the dome, I’d let the land be. Wild forest, wild deer, wolves, bears, cougars, fish, everything–everything that was here before we chased it out, let it come back to its homeland.

And you’d need a culture that actually wanted to leave the dome and go be in the wild sometimes. The walls of the dome shouldn’t be a prison. That would be stupid. They should be just like the walls of your house: strong enough to keep the heat in and the rain out, but full of doors and windows.

But what of the suburbs, they cry? What of overcrowding the cities?

First off, we are going to have to get smarter about our population growth, and there is no way to do that until we have conquered disease, especially contagious disease. When people can all be relatively sure that their children will all grow up to have grandchildren of their own, and they start to feel the pressure of overcrowding the planet, I think the impulse to have as many kids as humanly possible will start to morph into the impulse to raise existing kids as well as possible.

As for the suburbs, IMHO they can exist inside the dome. There is no need to crunch people into tiny spaces with no green. There may be some who prefer it, but many will not, so a standard city dwelling is going to end up with its own piece of green.

Rooftop gardens will be great for this.

Why don’t I believe in Man’s Manifest Destiny to Tame the Earth to His Will? Because it’s misled and counterproductive. You can “rule” over something–if you really feel that burning need to–without touching it. You don’t have to mess with the perfection Nature spent millions of years refining in order to “own” land. It’s like a grab-happy child who wants to draw all over the walls because they think it looks cool like that. Mama Nature wants to take the crayon out of your little hand and say, “Stop it!”

I think in a few hundred years that’s what our cities are going to look like anyway. The question is if the land outside of the bubble is going to be a nasty, stinking, smoking sludge pile or if it’s going to be healthy, green, prosperous land.

Which kind of brings me back to my hypothetical wild corner in my (hopefully) near-future backyard. I wanna do it.

As for my gardens, at least three. Next post about that.

Leave a comment on your vision of the future.