Ecological Change, The garden that once was
In 1986 we used to play around in the garden in front of our house. It was a public garden, not one of those large ones, but just big enough for us and our neighbors to play around in. We used to play soccer in the street as well next to the garden. And how can I forget, actually eating some of the flowers in the garden.
We used to run around in it, exploring, the grass was long, and we liked that because if laid down we would be almost invisible. We’d also love watching the tiny grasshoppers jump out as we ran around the garden. If we’d spot one on a leaf, we’d slowly come up to it and try to catch it. We even developed our own grasshopper-catching strategy — by placing our hands in a certain position and a certain distance, so that even if it jumps we can catch it.
We let them go, and try to catch them again. What we also loved to catch were small butterflies as well — you’d think I’m talking about some fantasy land, no, this is in Kuwait, right in front of our house in Bayan. One of the last insects we’d run after and try to catch was the ladybird. There were tons of them. We weren’t mean to the creatures, we’d let them go, but exploring was such a fascinating thing to do then.
Fast forward a few years later, and we’re into video games, and running around the house more — breaking things — and not going out as much as we used to. A few years later I remember going out in the garden, it was quiet. I didn’t see any grasshoppers, or butterflies, or ladybirds. There were a few caterpillars. We entertained ourselves with them, but soon enough, we stopped going to the garden.
When I look outside the window now at the garden. I see garbage around the edges, and the neglected plants. The flowers were all gone, all that was left was grass, and even it, looked like it was in a terrible state. On one part of the garden there was a huge pile of sand and pebbles for construction.
I went out to look at it, but there was nothing there. I hoped that as I stepped into it, a grasshopper would jump out, or a butterfly would flutter away — there was nothing.
I wondered if these were all gone because of urbanization. Was it all because we were changing the ecology so much? New people had to move in, and the creatures had to move out. Thinking about it that way, I’d suppose the people are more worthy of the place. Somehow.