Man is fooling itself to think we have any control over Mother Nature. It’s an illusion, a comforting one, but at the same time incredibly dangerous.

Putting a pile of sand on the beach and expecting it to keep everything safe is a man-made illusion. Barrier islands are made of beautiful, wonderful, magical sand. It is not fixed but fluid and loves to shift and change and explore. Our problem is that we like solid things created within fixed lines. Mother Nature just laughs.

Polar bears are invading a small town in Russia. If people weren’t there this wouldn’t be a problem but somewhere along the line a few people put down some stakes and built solid things in fixed lines. Polar Bears just laugh.

Reports come out every day scaring us with lists of possible species that may go extinct. We have learned from the dinosaurs that everything has it’s time on this great blue marble and maybe that’s the plan.

Contemplating extinction made me think about things that have become extinct (or nearly) during my life time.

Rotary dial phones – do you still use one? Probably not.

Phone books – I got one the other day that was 50 pages of business ads, no more thrill of finding your name in print.

Stick shift cars – definitely a declining critter.

House to house Christmas caroling. Did you do this in the last decade?

Gun racks in the back window of trucks.

Gun ranges at high schools for school teams (did you know Dixon used to have one?)

Not wearing white after Labor Day.

Watching cowboy and Indian movies.

Buying dress patterns and having a sewing box.

Teachers and police officers earning a “livable” income that didn’t require a second job.

Fruit cake. Maybe this is a good thing but in a weird twist I can only image fruitcake, cockroaches and crab grass outliving us all.

Carbon paper. Remember the joy of putting 2 sheets of paper together with carbon in between?

Typewriters with fabric ribbon. Having to white-out a mistake was extra fun since we had to know how to spell instead of depending on spell check (great invention).

Home doctor visits.

Whittling wood while sitting in a rocking chair.

Going for Sunday drives.

Watching The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights with the whole family.

Knowing the names of all your neighbors and taking in their mail when they went out of town and watering their plants.

Lemonade stands.

Kids getting paid $5 for mowing your lawn and be happy to do it.

Society is like our planet, constantly changing and testing its boundaries, the only difference is that nature doesn’t take itself quite so seriously. Maybe we should learn from her.

Remember knowledge is power and going with the flow makes more sense than fighting it.


Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.