Recently I observed an effort to lay a new water pipeline in our neighbourhood – the contractors had perhaps been asked to dig as close to the edge of the road as they could – notwithstanding the trees that lined our avenue.
The roots of almost all the trees were brutally cut to ensure that this pipeline did not damage any road space.
When the activity was over – a neat new pavement was constructed and nobody would ever remember that these trees now have no roots left on one side to support them.
I would not be surprised if the first monsoon takes them down.
Out of sight : out of mind.
When did our society stop valuing the unseen? How do we remind our children that even if they are not able to see the cow, she is the one that produces the milk they drink?
Nature hides. Many things from our sight. And this has confounded humanity for centuries – to understand the invisible from the symptoms that they are able to physically see. There was a sense of mystery awe and reverence for that which was not visible in Nature.
Even though technology relies on a lot of these invisible phenomenon, our technological progress has numbed us to their importance. We take it for granted that the waves that connect our mobile phones cannot be seen. We enter into the wombs of humans and animals and want to watch an embryo evolve, but we don’t respect the fact that perhaps it needs to do this unobserved.
A few days ago I planted some seeds I found on the street. They are lost to my eye now and I watch every day to see if they will sprout.
The processes they are going through are not accessible to my eye, but I am hoping that they will indeed come to life. If I were to open up the soil every day to see how they were faring, this would not allow them to mature.
Observation, Perception, Understanding have a lot to do with faith and belief. But we have forgotten how to see, how to make sense of what we see and how to value what we cannot see.
On a more practical level, the public works department needs a reminder that roots of grown trees are not dispensable.