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I took a walk this morning, through the neighborhood, to the edge of a forest, into the forest, to a waterfall that runs on and on. The beauty was extraordinary, and it occurred to me how it odd it is that a forest is incomparably beautiful to me, an interloper, when all around are the dying, diseased, and rotting corpses of living things. Trunks, leaves, branches, animals, all of them lying upon each other, creating the top soil layer so that more trees and plants can grow, more animals thrive and prosper.

The natural world is brutal. I've been watching for years form my back porch as one tree strangles another, and vines crawl up the dying tree's trunk in order to speed up the job. Yet, speeding up really means years instead of decades, or centuries. All these trees want to do is survive. They follow the sun, and sometimes the sun leads them to kill each other. And when they do die, they still maintain their beauty. They find a more sublime place among their peers, a sacrifice for the good of all. The strangled tree in my yard has blossomed every year for years, with another tree choking it off. Imagine going to work, feeding your kids, watching TV, laughing, loving, fucking, enjoying life even as someone slowly chokes out your life.

The natural world. Brutal. Beautiful. Enduring.

I suppose this is the closest I've felt to nature. Not that my suburban shangri-la is particularly natural, though there are plenty of trees and wildlife. It's that the natural world is in control right now. Virtually everything about my life has changed because nature has reasserted herself.

Now I see the hubris. How big we thought we were. How powerful. I wonder now if I might know how that strangled tree feels after-all.

Everyday I wait. I work, I feed my kids, watch TV, laugh, love, enjoy the life I have, and all the while an invisible hand tightens.

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