I would love to write about some amazing catch since my last column but surgeries and other medical procedures have kept me homebound. Not that much of a TV watcher, day after day wishing I was out on the water was finally broken up as I reached for the TV remote.

In all honesty I wish I had kept to daydreaming, because seeing what was going on both health-wise and weather-wise across this great country really took me down a notch or two.

The resurgence of Covid, massive fires out west, the strongest hurricane on record, along with flooding and other beat-downs by Mother Nature did little to improve my normally optimistic outlook on life.

Day after day of this led me one inescapable conclusion – Mother Nature appears to be using all her power to knock some sense into the human race in hopes that we will realize that this is no way to treat a lady.

Sadly, I agree with her. Since I was first able to walk, nature has been my best friend. Oh, the things she has shown me! Without an ounce of selfishness, she just gives and gives while asking for nothing in return. But as time goes by, I am becoming more certain by the day that our relationship is a one-way street. She gives, we take.

Just drive down any of our local roads and it is easy to see what little regard we have for all her efforts. Lush green fauna, a brilliant array of wild flowers – and right in their midst a crumpled-up beer can.

Even in remote areas, the story is the same. Most summers I head up to various national forests to fly fish for trout in the mountains while escaping the oppressive Lowcountry heat. No matter how far I walk to find solitude in a cool, clear mountain stream, the only thing out of place is a beer or soda can wedged under the large boulder that should shelter a trout. It blows my mind. “Utter disrespect” puts it mildly.

Closer to home we aren’t doing much better. Having been blessed to live here when people were few and far between, I accept the fact that more and more people want to live here. Almost daily I see new developments pop up and yet little, if anything, is done to improve our infrastructure so that all these developments have the least amount of impact on the incredible natural beauty that drove the newcomers here in the first place.

Though I certainly don’t know exactly what the impact fees are that developers pay to build here, but I do know it isn’t enough. Right where I live, just off Alljoy Road, the bike path debate is a perfect example of warped priorities.

While we are in desperate need of improvements to our drainage system and a non-existent sewer system, the county wants to spend a fortune on a bike path. Really? “Pave paradise and put up a parking lot” is more than a song – it is reality.

In my opinion, another prime example where greed trumps need is the proposed marina and fuel pumps at Palmetto Bluff. Since that development was sold, the new owners have one thing in mind – return on investment.

A marina on the New River? I know that river well, and just getting to the ocean is fraught with sand bars and obstacles for even the most experienced boat captain. Secondly, getting to clear water or the ocean itself is a really long run.

My final conclusion regarding this grand plan is the developers have decided that they can charge way more for homesites on or near the marina. Of this I guarantee.

When I talk to friends and bring up just how badly humans are treating nature and that I have no doubt this disregard is changing the strength of storms for the worse and affecting the environment as a whole, only one retort stops me dead in my tracks: “Come on, it is just cyclical.” The image of an ostrich with its head in the sand pops into my head every time.

I apologize if this column riles your feathers, but I just had to let it out. Let’s start right here and make our area the model of responsible development, trash-free highways and clean waters. It might just start a trend that will catch on while making Mother Nature one very happy woman.   

Collins Doughtie, a 60-year resident of the Lowcountry, is a sportsman, graphic artist, and lover of nature. collinsdoughtie@icloud.com