About a year ago I was enjoying the only provincial park at the time on Manitoulin Island, Misery Bay. It has an interesting story to its name, someone was charged with surveying the water body names of the Island, asking the locals what they call them. Coming on this bay in spring, there were lots of mosquitoes about and someone working with a tangled net on their fishing boat. When asked the name of the bay they responded, “MISERY”. And that is how Misery Bay got its name, so the story goes.
But this post isn’t about that. It is about a fine summer day on the trails observing the varieties of wildlife about. Tourists to the island visit the park often, and on this morning one such family did and their child upon seeing a butterfly had hollered, “Look, Nature!” To my surprise, I was startled at how this child only saw nature when viewing a butterfly. Why would this be so? There was the sky, the rocks, the trees, each other… why was only the butterfly noted as ‘nature’? I could only imagine that it was likely the cultural perception that only wildlife in the form of an animal was “truly of nature” to this child. Nonetheless there was wonder there. I got the sense that this child had the thought that they traveled this far just to see it. That worried me more than the disconnect of what nature was.
I wanted to say something, but in my mild disorientation of trying to wrap my head around the thought left me with only more to think. I still had wondered what the best thing to say would be. Currently, this is what I think would have been a good thing to say,
” Look at your hands, what do you see?… Look at the tree bark, what do you see?… There are patterns like this everywhere if you just take the time to look. It shows how each and everything is part of nature. Including cities. The only difference between how cities are now and parks like this is the number of different life forms that live in it. But cities can become just as beautiful as this park by helping there to be more diversity, and so butterflies can call it home too.”