Opinion Columns & Blogs

Some of man’s creations rival Mother Nature’s

Bill Hall
Bill Hall

Sounds and scenes of autumn now dominate life in the northern hemisphere, but that is not entirely a blessing.

Acres of leaves cover our city and some of us have lost patience. The first freeze has yet to occur and hasten the separation of leaves from their trees.

Similarly, the Canada geese have boarded their regular winter escape flight and now pass overhead, singing their bizarre honking music. When we are out walking we listen to the geese flying in formation, bombing us with free fertilizer as they swing past our lawns.

Those stingy, honking birds no sooner finish their song than they head south, leaving us alone with that old cold friend called winter. It’s enough to make us look up and scream at the geese: Deserters!

For a few mornings now, with the geese gone, we listen to a cacophonous chorus of gasoline leaf blowers. And that ain’t exactly opera. It isn’t even Willie Nelson.

I am not fond of leaf blowers. Their song is loud and, but give them credit for one thing: They do their job and leave, just like traveling geese, but the flying geese put more splendor into what they do.

Most of us prefer Nature’s beauty to human sights and sounds. However, there are exceptions. Mere humans have originated sights and sounds that have given us glimpses of grandeur.

True, no human has produced anything to equal a lightning storm, a sunset, an aurora borealis, an angry ocean or a forest field where you can walk with your honey bunny among sweet violets.

A few clever humans have managed a handful of embellishments for our rivers – manmade bridges that span streams. Don’t get so busy crossing a river that you forget when you reach the other side to admire the masterpiece that helped you reach with beauty across that stream.

Another human achievement gives us a few lights that Nature never tried. Mere humans in recent decades have invented (like it or not) a new kind of lights in our common skies. Lie on your back some dark, unclouded evening and look up. Not only will you see countless natural stars but also a marvelous moon, meteorites and meteoroids by the dozens, plus the occasional passing comet.

But now there’s something new under the moon. Satellites built by humans appear as what looks like small stars slowly crossing the sky above you. Most of what we used to see in the night sky of our early years was formed exclusively by a grand creator. But new moving stars were built a few decades ago by some nerdy kid in your science class who grew up and added to our sky shows.

While you may differ, I consider those new electricity-producing windmills that Don Quixote would envy are an improvement in our world.

But when it comes to new, daring styles of beauty done by humans, don’t forget architects. Their creations – buildings –aren’t all gems, far from it. But there comes a rare building now that is magnificent.

If I had to choose my favorite edifice in the world, it would be the new cathedral in Barcelona that began in 1882 and will be finished in 11 more years. I have seen it only once, but it is an intense, utterly original beauty that is the most astonishing structure I have ever seen.

Ask your smart phone to show you a picture of La Sagrada Familia (the church of the holy family) and then tell me you did not gasp when you saw it.

Finally, I almost forgot the most imposing human-made creation of all – the gleaming faces of your children and mine.

Contact Bill Hall at wilberth@cableone.net or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.