We hear a lot about the concept of Gaia, Mother Earth. (1) According to this theory or philosophy, we are all interconnected — the rocks, the birds, the bugs, the bees, and the animals — everything!
A noteworthy statement is that the dog is man’s best friend. This can be extended to other pets — birds, cats, mice, and lizards to name but a few. The animals we tend to consume for food, however, are a little more distant. If someone says, for example, that they like to eat dog meat for energy and strength, we would consider them unsophisticated, bordering on vulgar.
We can change our proclivities, nonetheless. During past wars, in times of starvation, and deprivation, military horses were readily eaten. They, initially, fell into the latter group — those consumed. With the publication of Black Beauty (2) in the 19th century, the horse was transformed into the exalted stature that he now occupies — that of a strong, intelligent, and sensitive being. Be that as it may, the anthropomorphic approach can be, and perhaps should be, extended to all living creatures — even if we do eat them.
Most of us, I am sure, have had personal conversations with the natural world. I would like to share several of my own. I grew up in an industrial village. One of its main industries was the harvesting of trees. Traditional practices were quite primitive and the forests were essentially mined for their wealth, the consequences of which are still being felt today. (3)
The men, mostly men, that were involved were understandably proud of being loggers, being lumbermen. This emphasis lent itself to the traditional manly pursuits — hunting, fishing, drinking, and smoking. By the time a man retired at 65, he was probably overweight and certainly fatigued. For many, retirement life — a life spent in a form of wage slavery, essentially — was inevitably short. His work in the destruction of the forests did not help. (4)
Due to its isolated nature, our village did not have an ample supply of fresh eggs. My family, therefore, to alleviate this concern, raised chickens. One of my assigned tasks was to take care of the poultry — thus assisting in my understanding of responsibility. We had roosters to protect the hens. I had a pet poulet by the name of Charlie who thought that he was almost two meters tall and human. He would strut around the chicken run with a sense of command that was akin to my grandfather’s. When he cocked his head to look at me, I could see in his beady eyes a real sense of recognition and understanding.
Now some 50 years later, this experience seems more metaphorical than real. But for a lonely child, this communication was essential, I had a friend. Rather sadly, not long after this epiphany, Charlie got involved in a fight with Max, our black Labrador, (5) a creature, in reality, far larger than he was. The conflict was quickly over and Charlie was killed. Thus at a tender age, I learned two invaluable lessons: life is ephemeral and you truly can commune with nature.
The great author and environmentalist, Rachel Carson, (6) leaves us with a thought: Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
A closing thought: One of the easiest ways to connect with nature is to simply go to a park and walk barefoot on a piece of grass for a few moments. This produces a profound connectivity to all that is and all that will be. You, fortunately, are included.
You enter the forest
at the darkest point,
where there is no path.
Where there is a way or path,
it is someone else’s path.
You are not on your own path.
If you follow someone else’s way,
you are not going to realize
your potential. (7)
To sum up: This week, we spoke about communicating with nature and the consequences of this attempt.
To be noted: from Roy T. Bennet (8) — The more you feed your mind with positive thoughts, the more you can attract great things into your life.
Just for fun:
This week, on your reflective walk, please ponder how you can speak with the natural world.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!
Quote: Search for your piece of immortality