I have been trying to ride more in an attempt to regain some semblence of ‘shape.’ To this end, I decided to take a leisurely bike ride before the “to-do’s” of the day started their barrage. I loaded my Camelbak with water and ice, stuffed in my cell phone (not quite ready to totally escape responsibility) and camera (what adventure is complete without a visual record?) and hopped on my two-wheeled steed.

Leaving the cover of the scrub brush greenbelt, I entered the clearing that girded both sides of the man-made drainage ditch. The ribbons of muddy water abutted to slanted concrete banks are referred to locally as bayous. This naming convention is used both to recall a time when the “Bayou City” indeed was surrounded with bayous and to hide the fact that a more proper title would now have to be the “Concrete Drainage Ditch City.” Not nearly as marketable.

Oh well. As I approached the bayou (we’ll just play along) a trio of turtles sunning themselves on the bank skittered into the protection of the murky water. I had thoughts of snapping a picture much too late as the camera was zipped up in one of the numerous pockets currently strapped to my back. I rode on for a while and was enjoying the fresh air, sunshine and cool breeze. I saw numerous turtles poking their heads cautiously from the water and even a duck and her six ducklings. As these were wild ducks, I wasn’t able to get too close, but I was able to take a couple shots.

A little further down, I was dismayed to see the following:

Once again, we (humans) were taking a natural area and shaping it to our needs. I really don’t mean to wax too liberal here and I have never been too much of a tree hugger – but it is times like this that make you wonder if you should be a tree hugger. This guy (below) who was desperately attempting to find cover had obviously wandered into the wrong place. He was about fifteen feet away from where the heavy machinery was restructing his home. The water was too shallow to go for cover, and this was probably a good thing because his instinct would have told him to just dive under and hide and the steel blades slammed all around him shaping a “water feature” for nearby residents to enjoy nature.

I got off the bike – took off my socks and shoes – dropped the pack and all my gear and waded into the muck to retrieve him. He was not at all interested in being rescued as he fled desperately from me towards the construction. I was able to catch him because the water was so shallow and … well, turtles are not so fast unless they are swimming. I grabbed him up and walked him over to the deeper, more established bayou which connected to this new creation and let him scurry to the depths. I wish I could say that I saved a turtle today – but he will probably return to his home before the construction ends and will be easy prey for a front end loader, or curious and slightly sadistic kid.

The whole thing got me thinking about something that I have ranted about in the past – there are just too damn many people. I know it is self-centered because I am not volunteering to “off” myself to alleviate some of the crowding, but I also haven’t reproduced. (And the sighs can be heard all around the planet – haha) There can be no question that we as humans are the largest plague this planet has ever seen. Never in history has one species so dominated the globe. Not only are we covering it with people, we are paving over enormous portions and tearing down plants and trees and destroying other species in the process. Plants are the lungs of the planet and we are coating them with concrete.

There are those who say the planet is already fighting back. Suddenly, Nature has a huge vested interest in thinning our numbers. Weather disasters are on the rise, there is record flooding, volcanic activity, earthquakes, tidal waves etc. assaulting us more and more as we spread across the surface of our world. In addition, Nature is fighting back with diseases, virii and plagues of all sorts. AIDS was the first of what I think will be many to come. SARS is spreading rapidly across the plant and the CDC(Centers for Disease Control) in Atlanta has stated that it has yet to peak even though we are throwing billions of dollars and the best scientists at the problem. This is to say nothing of Ebola, Reston, or Marburg (look into them)

Anyway, not sure where all this is headed other than to say that its all kind of scary, but maybe just by having it in the back of our minds, we can do something about it. Maybe we will remember next time we see a turtle crossing the road and instead of just swerving to avoid him – maybe we should stop and move him on his way.