Nature and the New Year
So far, this has been a wonderful new year. It was about this time last year when I discovered my true passion in life: nature. When I say nature, I mean the whole of the physical world. I don’t know much about the care of the physical world because for most of my life it didn’t concern me. I lived inside my head.
I moved through the physical world with blinders, directed toward the next goal that I thought important. I attribute my dream state to survival mode. I think this stems from my time at St. Joseph’s Orphanage at a very young age. Sister Conchadda would lock me in a closet when she thought I needed discipline. A young person will retreat into his own mind when he is isolated within the confines of a dark closet. So it began for me.
For me, the physical world only existed to maintain the dream world I lived in. “Just trying to maintain” was a statement my friends and I used many times in my younger days. My generation is famous for its hippie cultures, mind trips, and “getting back to nature” attitudes. Well, we all know how that turned out. We did a whole lot of thinking about it while our natural world was taking a crap. You can argue about this but if you do, you are living in a dream world and the ice is melting around you.
I am not alone, for many of us spend much of our lives in a dream world, detached from the physical world. We are so busy. We wake up in the morning and feed ourselves and drink our liquids. If we don’t, our minds slow down and we lack the ability of concentration and imagination. Further lack of food and water will eventually have dire consequences. You know this to be true. It is the same with nature.
We are conflicted in a mixture of the physical and metaphysical world that is twisted around. Instead of using our minds to nurture the physical world, we do exactly the opposite. We never consider the fact that if we neglect our natural world everything, everything, will fall apart. We will learn the hard way that we cannot live on our dreams.
This is hard for us to imagine because we are so rich, so rich. We say we are hungry when we haven’t eaten in two hours. We think we will die if we don’t stop at Starbucks or MacDonald’s. We think it’s quaint when we see a woman of color carrying a jug of water while wearing a sarong. Our minds just don’t grasp the fact that she has to carry that jug of water for hours on end or her children will not have water to drink on that particular day.
We sit in comfort, sipping our sodas, and watch the rape of the Earth on television in high definition. At times we see young people dragged out of trees where they’ve lived for the last year in protest of clear-cutting foresters. “Stupid bitch!” we think. Environmentalists are a bother to us. We call them “tree huggers.” They hold up our construction projects because they are worried about “the impact”!
OK, I’m as guilty as anyone, I admit it. It’s only of late that I’ve removed my blinders and looked at the beauty of the Earth around me and the state it is in. In the last year or so, I have met some new friends that showed me the way to care for the physical world. They’re teaching me to examine nature in the real world as it truly is. I have found that nature, in reality, is much different than it is within my mind, my imagination. They are entirely two different things.
In the world my new friends showed me, I found awe and reverence in nature that inspires a greater ethical sense within my mind and heart. On holiday to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, like-minded people around the world will pause and reflect on the great man’s life. He spent his entire life trying to show others the “real world.” Civil rights was not his only concern. He knew that all of nature is connected and that natural balance in everything is the key to life.
It’s no wonder that my new friends chose his birthday to celebrate his life by caring for the natural world. I feel as Dr. King did when he spoke the words, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” Dr. King was a servant of the people in all ways, and a healthy environment is much more than equality within the human race. A healthy environment is dependent upon man’s equality with nature. Mankind’s squabbles within itself will die and fade away, and nature will strive to repair itself after we are gone.
Dr. King also said that life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” What he meant was, if we can’t care for our own behavior and environment properly and care for ourselves, what are we leaving for our grandchildren and their children?
Please, join me and my new friends (they know who they are) in environmental awareness and equality for all of nature.