Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Decay and Deterioration

I just put The World Without Us in my library queue. I don't know that much about the book, but my (possibly inaccurate) understanding is that it is about what would happen if humanity was wiped off the face of the Earth and how plants and animals would go about reclaiming the planet.

I was just thinking about this book when a spider dropped down from the ceiling and into my field of vision. Rusty (the cat) saw it, too, and immediately started chattering and positioning himself to pounce. Just as quickly the spider skedaddled back up its thread to the ceiling.

It's ventured down a few times since and gotten within inches of Rusty's striking range (he went so far as to balance precariously on his hind legs), but the spider managed to dart out of reach each time. (Good.) Amazing. Prey and predator--right in my dining room.

I guess the book also takes a look at how much time, money, and energy we spend trying to keep Nature at bay. I was actually sitting here thinking of possible examples--swiffering and/or vacuuming all the dirt and Doug fir needles that get tracked into the house, scrubbing the toilet on a regular basis so as to prevent a disgusting overgrowth of bacteria, mowing the freakin' lawn--when the spider dropped by and provided another example--keeping arthropods out of the house (the one and only service Rusty provides).

Another reason this book appeals to me is that I find decay and deterioration (although not of my own body) to be really interesting, whether its the way a snowman melts or the way an old barn lists into collapse. Plus, I'm a fan of The Twilight Zone. Wasn't the premise for about every other episode of that series that some guy wakes up to find that he's the only person left on Earth?

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