Saying goodbye to New York is saying goodbye to ducklings, pattering up the side of the tidal bay bank. The mother strands over them, on a little metal grate, watching them find their footing on the rocks on the shore.

The small mallard ducklings are impossibly sweet. What is it in our brains, I wonder, that sees a natural figure rendered in miniature and short-circuits with effusive delight? Our ecstatic synapses sizzle and pop with the excitement of recognition and connection. The pleasurable simulation is something on a level deeper than reflection that excites us, that we ware supposed to love. What is it about things we see that we like, desire, crave before even knowing what or why we love it. It’s an environment we know we love and is good.

Without the ability to immerse ourselves in nature, we lose ourselves. In New York City, nature has become a reward, rather than our context, the field of being that gives us meaning and vocabulary from which to form our speech. Our speech is flattened to just the words on the screens. We live in a society of words, and so language—the signifier of the real—becomes the only reality. A world of signifiers is no ecology at all.

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