Scanning the headlines this year, we sometimes feel as if we’re reliving the biblical plagues of the Old Testament. So far in 2011, we’ve witnessed widespread flooding from the Mississippi River, earthquakes in Colorado and the Northeast, and Hurricane Irene along the East Coast. Drought touched much of the South this summer, including Louisiana.

And this week, many Baton Rouge area residents walked outside their doors to find the hot August air thickened with smoke. Officials said the smoke had drifted in from a marsh fire near New Orleans.

We have to wonder what other manmade or meteorological phenomenon will come next. Maybe hordes of locusts?

We often think of nature and civilization as separate provinces. But when smoke from a New Orleans area marsh fire wafts over Baton Rouge city streets, we’ve been given a vivid reminder of just how connected we are with the larger ecology of the region.

We hope people keep that in mind long after the air clears.