Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Death in the short grass

It is undeniable.  You can tempt it, you can cheat it, you can curse it, mourn it, or brood over it yet it remains indifferent to actions and emotions, unswerving in its task.  The human world builds rituals around the end of life culminating with the planting of remains in cemeteries, the gardens of the dead.  The animal world has no such rite. They don't bury each other in unmarked graves either, Disney as that notion may be.  And despite a certain amount of evidence to the contrary they don't all seek asphalt in the end.  Given this and the vast number of animals in the wild it seems an average hunter would stumble upon a few more carcasses in the woods and fields.

Sure, quite a few creatures end up as links in the food chain and are digested to the point that only the most fastidious eye would detect the parts amid twigs and leaves.  For the rest the framework lands in plain view, picked clean, nature's near-perfect efficiency in action.  In plain view of something, but what?

If you believe in higher powers and predestination and those sorts of things it would make sense that each living creature, or at least the sum of its physical parts, ends up exactly where it's supposed to.  That fact is no closer to unlocking the answer but does provide a measure of comfort that there is some order to this end of the universe.  Known science suggests it's possible that the disguises that protect so well during life serve the same purpose afterward, but at that point what is the purpose?

It's also possible that this is one of those questions that Mother Nature never wants answered.  Logical, orderly, mathematical minds have trouble with such things.  Einstein-be-damned, maybe some things can't be reduced to an equation.


  1. With apologies to Capstick? ;)

  2. Nice piece. That may be why they call it faith, the belief that we are more than just the sum of our parts.