It's a bit of a laugh that my garden is intended to attract butterflies, as I live several floors up in a neighborhood not known for its greenery. I once heard Diana Balmori remark something to the effect of, one of the ways to revitalize cities is to bring animals back from the marginal existence they've been relegated to in the modern urban environment (I'm so excited to publicize her new book, A Landscape Manifesto, this fall; catch a preview on twitter, @newmanifesto).
I haven't seen a butterfly yet, but I do live across from a healthy colony of pigeons on the next roof that amuse me greatly with their constant order, and on my little balcony, I've got some aphids, which caused me to reluctantly throw out a plant this morning (I don't have the space to introduce ladybugs, nor do I want to resort to chemicals), and then today I discovered an ant, a bee and a tiny caterpillar. Considering the fact that there is one tree on my block, all of this influx is nothing short of a revelation. I like cultivating a refuge for the native ecosystem, and, if biodiversity prevails, perhaps the butterflies aren't far behind.
I recently subscribed to the New York Review of Books, and I absolutely love it. One article, "Why We Must Bring Back the Wolf," (worth the subscription alone), that's stuck in my mind intensely concerns "rewilding," or the practice of reintroducing species to attain an equilibrium that was destroyed. The best example is when scientists studied a series of canyons in Southern California: some had visible and vocal birds, some were eerily silent. It turns out that the silent canyons cut off access for coyotes, due to suburban development. Neighborhood cats, with nothing to fear, killed all the birds. In the canyons that were accessible, coyotes kept things in balance and the bird population thrived.
Is there any potential, perhaps not-directly-obvious element in your life that seems scary but could actually yield tremendous benefit? That's what I'm thinking about today.
Previously: Protect What You Love.