A Reflection From a Different Pool
Barbara Kingsolver in her essay "High Tide in Tucson" discusses the intertidal cycles of oysters. In the essay Barbara describes how a scientist in Tucson Arizona attempted to study the intertidal cycles of oysters in a basement laboratory.
The scientist was amazed to find that the oysters continued to follow a cycle, yet none of the cycles that the oysters should have theoretically followed.
Kingsolver ends her essay by saying that the oysters had found a new cycle, that of Tucson Arizona.
It would not be difficult to compare a human being to an oyster. Biologically the similarities of an oyster and human are amazingly numerous. One could follow a path through all living things to the cellular level.
Humans tend to have one arguable difference though, this being the ability to reason and to internalize and interpret experience beyond the mere plight of survival.
Kingsolver performs a miracle by opening the comparison of the ecological cycles of biomes to that of humans need to find the cycles of their immediate enviroments.
A working definition of a cycle would be an organism's bioligical activity falling into the rhythms of it immediate ecological biome.
In American society today thousands of people gather their belongings and displace themselves, forcing upon themselves the need to fall into the cycles of foreign landscapes, usually heavily populated human biomes called cities and towns.
Back in 1996 I found myself thrust out of a six-year stint in the Army. I immediately threw myself into work and school. Within two years I had saved up a few thousand dollars and finished an Assocaited in Science in Biology. I had moved in with my family for the two years in which I accomplished these tasks.
Living in my hometown with my family was an easy transition. I had already internalized the rhythm of Gardnerville Nevada. I had found the Washoe desert to my left and the Sierra Nevada Mountain range to my right, and had also found a peace in falling back into the routines I remembered from childhood.
A strange desire to travel and experience came over me, so I had sat down and tried to find the perfect place to finish my Bachelor's Degree. Missoula Montana housed me during my first experience with college prior to the Army. Sadly, Missoula did not offer the programs I was interested in, yet a small Catholic School located in great Falls Montana did.
I moved to Great Falls Montana and enrolled into the Molecular Biology program offered at the University of Great Falls. I figured the mountains would bring the happiness the Sierra Nevada Mountain range brought me. I was partly right.
The Rocky Mountains filled me with a joy I had never encountered before. A joy for all that was real to me, nature. The other half of the experience left me in a tornado, turmoil I had never experienced before.
I tried to find a rhythm in Great Falls. Everytime I lifted a rock to look what was underneath all I could see was a collection of insects too involved in finding their own rhythm that no comfort was found.
When I asked people where they searched for their place, the only answer I found was to leave Great Falls. It seemed the town was full of displaced individuals, much like myself. This left me in a flux.
Comfort for me is to feel the weather outside my apartment, to read a good book, and to find a collective to call my immediate family. I did not find this, nor had I found a place within the cycle of the biome of this city.
I hoped one day to find memories located outside the Rockies and I have. Memories of my children being born and finding a new home near the Sierra's that I love. These memories of friends and family continue to make me laugh and smile.
My time in Great Falls came to an end and I left without a grain of sand to hold. Maybe I could not adjust my internal rhythm to the Great Falls cycle.
In biology if a species cannot find a biological rhythm to adjust to in its immediate surroundings the species will go extinct.
So I may be one of the lucky ones that finally found a place where the biome does not push me out as an unnecessary element in the cycle.