It occurs to me, though, that our inability to read the Book of Nature—and yes, I intend that uppercase N in all its Romantic glory—doesn’t necessarily mean there is no book to be read, only that we can’t read it; that the stories we’ve told and the tools we’ve developed to disarticulate it, and the indifference we’ve cultivated to make it go away, won’t do. That we need something different. Why? Because the text still matters, whether we can decipher it or not. Because, as seems increasingly clear, unless we reach some proper accommodation with nature, show it a bit of respect, admit our ignorance of it, it will bury us with as little fanfare as night follows day. The evolutionary tide of a billion years will wash over us and recede; a few ticks of the clock hand, and the scars we’ve made will heal; a paper wasp, moving in the shadow of Lincoln’s lower lip, will tend its soft, masticated nest. Which would be a shame: I’ve grown fond of our maudlin, murderous tribe.

Mark Slouka, “Eclogue”