For as long as I remember I have had a strong passion for nature. When I was about four years old, Dad and Mom took me for a walk through the forest behind our house and my senses leapt to life.
The sweet smell of decaying leaves became stronger the closer we came to the dark swampy area of the woods. Near the swamp the moss stood over eight inches tall. The thickness seemed like stepping upon a soft sponge. I’d take a step, look down, and see where my shoe left its imprint. Slowly the moss rose back to its height.
The area seemed enchanted, almost like we had stepped into a fantasy world. Most certainly this was different from anything I had ever seen before. The leaves on the towering trees were various pastel colors and the branches blocked the brightness of the sun. For some reason I actually liked that the area wasn’t too bright or dark.
Our dogs scouted the area ahead of us. Near a fallen tree the dogs stopped and sniffed the ground. Then they dug at the ground and rolled over an object that immediately caught my attention.
Dad picked it up. I begged him to let me have it, but an awful odor permeated from its shell.
“It’s dead,” he said, tossing it away.
Heading deeper into the woods, we came to a wide stream. None of us had shoes we wanted to muddy, so Dad made us turn back.
A few months later, the owner of the pastures that surrounded the swampy section of the woods bulldozed the trees, dug out a small pond to capture the stream, and fenced the area. He converted the lushness of the woods into an extension of his pastures. The place where this beautiful deep moss had grown was erased. And many years later, it has never recovered.
Sometimes progress should shame us as human beings.