strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

  • Richard Conniff writes about behavior, in humans and other animals, on two, four, six, and eight legs, plus the occasional slither.

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Silent Water

Posted by Richard Conniff on May 26, 2011

I have been browsing through Edward Hoagland’s Sex and the River Styx, and this killer paragraph leapt out:

“The next town is slated to double in populace soon, due to the construction of a new ski resort. In the jumpy atmosphere prevailing nationwide, which is both hyper-mercenary and health-obsessive, people regard real estate as more than just a dwelling or a spot to park their assets. They want a dab of garden, several healthy trees, with birds at a feeder, a breeze, and grass to mow and put lawn furniture on, which is a fancy way of lying on the ground. They want low blood pressure, no acid reflux or palpitations — longevity. Politically, in the grab-by phase we’re living through, this impulse doesn’t take the form of widely wanting to preserve nature as a public domain. Rather, we’ll tend to hire a backhoe to dig a private mini-pond and plant nursery vegetation, after chopping down whatever had grown up naturally in the vicinity before. People want muscle cars and a swatch of land to play designer on. A guy next door to where I used to live simply poisoned all of ‘his’ frogs in the pond outside his house because they sang when they mated in the spring. He had thought he was buying silent water.”

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