9.27.15 Footprints
September 27, 2015
Nogal House
Indian Divide, NM


I never really considered how much I disrupt nature until this morning. I walked out the door and headed to the outhouse in pure innocence. I flipped the stump which holds the door shut with the toe of my slipper and glanced down to see a stink bug who had found some shelter for the night beneath it. I stepped inside and raised the lid and grabbed the broom to sweep any spiders away who might be waiting there as they are sure to bite and then settled myself comfortably on the seat. I watched the stink bug walking away, his hind end raised slightly as if to express his displeasure at my disturbing him. That’s when it hit me!

Such a footprint I make on this peaceful place! In but a moments time I have ruined a bugs rest, killed some spiders and changed the entire atmosphere here on the hillside. Before I left I tossed some ashes down the hole in the outhouse which was a former rats nest before I took the post hole diggers and cleaned it out so I could put it back to use. They will have had to set up an entire new household because of me and they have yet to return. After that I proceeded to the shed door. Entering the shed I surely kicked some dirt into the narrow tunnel that all of the residents use to go beneath the door and then, worse, started the generator. If the noise didn’t ruin their day the rats and mice huddled in corners will be gassed by the exhaust and it is no wonder they leave the sharp spines from the cholla cactus all over the floor for me to pick up in my shoes and track back into the house. Though I draw no pleasure from bothering them I am sure they are pleased to know those stickers will at some point find their way to the soles of my bare feet. I step softly in the night because of that.

The generator running I then returned to the house, checking the tea pot and my wash basin as I did. The small fire I built in the outside hearth serves its purpose well and though I likely burned a few bugs in the process I make but a small footprint also. It requires only a handful of sticks to heat my water and the smoke is minimal from the hard woods I use and it is carried off in the morning breeze. My water use does little harm either since I carry it here and leave it behind. With no electricity or running water I only use three gallons to bath and wash and toss what’s left on the bushes. If I didn’t poison the rats and mice in the house there would be little disruption there either, though they would strongly disagree, this place was a palace for them before I took it over.

All told in the course of a day I, one solitary human, change the world of an entire community by simply performing my daily routine. I won’t even mention killing rattlesnakes when they show up, that is a given. I would not seek them out for the pleasure of gathering their skins and rattles but this is my domain and they are not welcome here. I have had people argue that they are rodent killers but I have already dispatched that also, poison and traps work great and I have no pets to worry about.

My presence here is minor all the same. My Nissan is a far worse contributor to global warming or earthly injury than I am and if we all lived as I do there would be so much less to worry about. Of course I am a consumer also and the things I do when I am gone from here are more injurious. Although frugal I still have necessities and the efforts that go into the products I buy are damaging at best. If I could limit my life the where I am I would, and I am trying to. When the windmill works I use more water and have a garden, but even that brings more good than harm and I share the produce with the rats and gophers that evade my efforts to kill them. The outside rats and I get along pretty well as long as they stay out of the woodpile but the gophers are greedy and I battle them constantly. Still in all, if that was the worst thing I had to worry about I think we would all be happy with the way things are. My footprint is small compared to most and I hope to keep it that way!

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