August 31, 2017


Bean reaches for light with support from Sage

Where do I even start?

Perhaps with the crickets. The real crickets whose choir pulses through the night air as I write this. I'm tempted to say: It's another quiet night up here on the plateau, serenaded by the sweet sound of crickets drifting through the forest.

But it would be a lie. Because crickets aren't quiet. Not even close. Nor do they serenade. Their rhythmic mating call sounds at about 150 beats per minute (I just counted). As they resonate through my body, these pulsations feel more like my heart pounding before being vulnerable in front of a group of strangers than a romanticized notion of the quiet of a late summer's night in the wilderness. So when I first heard the reference to "crickets" on social media, I thought it was referencing the anxious pulsations that dominate the night air.

I soon learned I was wrong. Well, it depends on how you define "wrong." For, in most of the world, crickets are still loud enough to drown out the sound of a conversation. And it does seem rather fitting for crickets to reference the beating heart and anxious thoughts pervasive in late night social media binges.

Snow. If all you can hear is the snow falling, now that's quiet.

Virtual Reality as Distorted Reality

Elliptical shadows during 2017 Eclipse:
Nature still defines the nature of our reality

It seems people have forgotten about the real world. The tangible, unmistakably physical world, where crickets are loud and snow is quiet. The one where flesh bleeds and death has a face and a name and memories. Where all food is living and comes from the Earth, full of dirt and sacrifice and love. Where heat in winter is a tree cut in summer. Where water comes from the ground not from the tap. Where people are unique individuals, not categories, and include goats and pigs and hawks and squirrels. Where our bodies know in tears and shouts of joy that it is our task to align ourselves with Nature. And that when we do, Nature provides in abundance; and when we don't, our losses are too great to count.

I could fill this page and your heart with the grief of the great ecological losses happening right now. But this is well documented, and I imagine you can already feel this loss in your body if you listen closely enough. I also imagine that your heart is currently filled with grief and loss that has a more political and social face to it. So I offer this instead:

What about the loss of Nature constantly testing and refining your ideas of what is and what ought to be?

What about the loss of certainty about what is right in this world? And what your place in it is?

What about the loss of fully embodied knowing that freedom is something granted by Nature, not by governments? Or that both sovereignty and interdependence are the foundation for flourishing?

What about the loss of language that enables deep listening across divides and with beings different from you?

What about the loss of systems thinking that sees relationships and processes not dichotomies or even spectrums.

These are just a few of the losses I feel as I watch what is unfolding in minds and hearts across the nation.

And these losses are just a few of the costs of existing in a world of ideas and frameworks that are solely constructs of the human mind and not deeply rooted in Nature.

Nature as Teacher, Not as Metaphor

Newborn Piglets Cuddling:
Pigs are one of my many teachers of what
it means to be human

Nature teaches us how to be human. It shows us our humanity and how to live in this world humanely. This is not a metaphor. Aligning with the Earth demands rigor and patience and holistic thinking. It demands keen observation, reflection and timely responsiveness. It demands integrity and humility. It demands respect -- to look again at what we see, for things are not always as they appear. It demands an internalized knowledge that we are deeply interwoven into a web and that what we do and how we act matters -- for Life is in the balance.

These qualities are in desperately short supply right now.

So when social media erupts in frantic anxiety (crickets anyone?), I find solace in continuing my everyday work that literally creates spaces for love to thrive in this very real and very physical world. For I have greatest confidence that my efforts will have the integrity and effectiveness needed to have the desired impact when I am both bound and supported by Nature.

For Nature not only grants me my freedom, my sovereignty and my interdependence with all Life, Nature demands it of me. If I begin to fall out of alignment with any of these natural truths, as we are all prone to do, I am quickly shown that what I am doing simply does not work. I know of no one or no thing else that does this so relentlessly and in service of Life. In a world that needs infusions of deep rooted, Earth-bounded love, I wouldn't settle for anything less.

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