Biosphere in Real Life
by Richard Ong
I previewed Edward Ahern’s “Biosphere” poem and really enjoyed it! It wasn’t what I expected when I decided to open the link. I was thinking of a colony on Mars and then — lo, and behold — out came a menagerie of critters from those witty words that were just all too real, all too painful to reminisce for a typical homeowner, reminding us that we are hostages under continuous siege by wildlife more ruthless than anything PIXAR has ever depicted on film.
I think we underestimate the raccoons, squirrels and mice. Just because their brains are smaller doesn’t mean they don’t have a calendar of events that keeps a record of our holidays when we are conveniently away and our homes are defenceless from their guerrilla attacks to the pantry. Raccoons are especially more than happy to celebrate their Thanksgiving every week on the night before our garbage gets picked up.
You are so right, Rich, on all counts!
On top of that, Toronto is a case study in wildlife’s adapting to urban environments. Out here in Guelph, about 80 km west of the big city, I don’t mind the possum sunning itself on the front steps, but I look around very carefully when I go outdoors at night.
White-striped furry beings bound merrily across the grass; fluttering wings signal ultrasonic flying things. And raccoons? Red eyes in the moonlight, eager to see what treats I might bring. Impudent squirrels are insulation-munchers and even home invaders, if they have half a nose to do it. Where’s our neighbour’s barky dog when we really need it?
Just think: when we go to Mars, we won’t have a biosphere. We’ll have to take it with us.