“I’ll never understand why some people are so in love with nature,” he said, turning away from the computer. He stood up, crossed the living room floor, and then flopped down beside me on the sofa. “I mean, there are so many things wrong with worshipping nature instead of things like common sense.”

I was only half-awake, but he needed humoring. “What is it this time?” I asked.

“The outcry against genetically modified food. Like it’s somehow unnatural.” He wrapped a snarl around the word that made him look crueler than usual. “And even if it is unnatural, so what? You know what is natural? Death. Cancer. Deadly parasites that crawl into your body and give you a slow, agonizing demise. Earthquakes are natural, as are the tsunamis they cause. Extinction-level event asteroid impacts are one hundred percent natural occurrences. Do people who hold nature in such high regard bother including those events in their arguments? Of course not.”

“But those things are unpredictable and unavoidable,” I said. “With food, we’re going out of our way to meddle.”

“Then when is it acceptable? Should we not have bothered searching for ways to fight off diseases? That’s unnatural. Or perhaps we shouldn’t have developed flight, let alone spaceflight. The best part of all of this is how much even so-called organic horticulture and agriculture could be classified as unnatural. What else would you call selective breeding, splicing strains of flowers and vegetables together to produce hardier strains? It’s eugenics in the name of the perfect salad, and if people are going to rail against genetically modified foods, then they should stop buying from their local grocers and start planting their own unmodified seeds! But oh, wait. That’s impossible as such things don’t even exist. Can’t exist, just as a society that abandons sanitation and refrigeration can’t exist.”

He seemed satisfied. I patted him on the arm, gently, and gave him a peck on the cheek. “I guess, when it comes right down to it, everything we do is an act of nature. As human beings born on this planet, we’re an extension of nature. Forever trapped in that inescapable circle of life.”

He smiled. “That’s it exactly, isn’t it?” A triumphant look lit up his face and he fished in the cushions for the remote control. “Let’s see what’s on Netflix, shall we?”

2015.03.20 – 2023.10.12

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