Tuesday

Watching the Leaves


Watching the leaves move though the large trees at Betty Webb's yesterday I thought maybe I finally understood something important. Up until about four years ago I was involved in a number of environmental concerns. This began with Gaylord Nelson's Earth Day working as a student activist. Mostly I have spent a good deal of time talking to would-be idiots. People paid to do as little as possible. I didn't go to them in an attempt to enlighten, I'm not that naive, but in an attempt to persuade them to at least follow their own damn rules. Weak as those rules were. Mostly my efforts were futile. One thing these workers were truly good at was covering up. That and obfuscation.

What became increasingly clear during these years was that these people mostly had little or no respect for the natural world. Thinking they would, to some degree, was a major mistake on my part. I was talking to someone who did not exist. A fantasy. As this became more clear I could not help but wonder why and assumed the motive was purely profit. I was correct in making this assumption because yes, under every cut tree was someone making a buck, or two or three. But this may not have been the primary motive as I came to understand yesterday looking at the wind blow through Betty Webb's trees.

What I came to understand was this: it's too much for us. Nature overwhelms us humans, it is a sensory overload against which we have no defense. And rather than go Tao and surrender, most humans fight. And maybe that's why our cities are often so hideous. Why most of what we have come to build and make is so ugly as to be deliberate. Prison camp architecture. All an attempt to reject that which we are powerless against. Sure the trees can be cut. Much wildlife can be terminated. The water can be poisoned. But not all.

Not all the trees. Not all the deer. The rabbits. The birds. And water, oh there are pockets they cannot find. The rain falls. The sun shines. The planets continue to orbit. The tide comes and goes as it always has. And always will.

The wind still yet blows though the trees. And Betty Webb and I watch. And listen to the fine song of it, letting it take us where it will. We cannot write the notes of it. We cannot understand its language. We cannot tell it where to go. And we do not care. We are content with it as it is. Glad for it simply to be part of our world. And maybe, just maybe, in that moment we are a part of the wind as well.