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In his latest On the Square column , Russell E. Saltzman reflects on the dominion of nature in his own backyard:

Our back yard is slightly larger than a postage stamp, covered with seven trees, located square in an urban subdivision. This little domestic forest over the years has been home to rabbit warrens, countless squirrels, fifteen bird species and, for one summer a wood rat—a very well-mannered animal that played well with squirrels at the ground feeder. A possum has ambled through time to time. Around the neighborhood itself we see mobs of crows and, once, three turkey buzzards in the middle of the street devouring a fresh road killed rabbit. I was so startled I stopped the car, backed up the street to our house, and rousted the only kid I could find at home and safaried her to watch the buzzards on the asphalt savannah. The scene wasn’t quite the spectacle of vultures gobbling down the lion’s leftover antelope, but it was nature about as raw as we like around here.

You noticed, right? I call them “mine,” “ours.” Of course they are not mine at all, but when the wild calls we do not always respond well. We want to subject it, or romanticize it, or worship it, but in some way own it so it reflects our desires.



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