Monday, June 22, 2015

Evening Wood Thrush, 1853

"As I come over the hill I hear the wood thrush singing his evening lay. This is the only bird whose note affects me like music—affects the flow & tenor of my thought—my fancy & imagination. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It is a medicative draught to my soul. It is an elixir to my eyes & a fountain of youth to all my senses. It changes all hours to an eternal morning." — Henry David Thoreau, June 22, 1853

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dancing Though Firmly Rooted

This morning as I finish my biscuits and sip another cup of coffee, I am watching the trees dance in the wind from the balcony seating of our front porch. The giant trees twirl and sway, and I can't help but see jubilant celebration and unfettered joy flowing in their limbs. It's easy to forget their aged feet are anchored to the ground. How often we complain that we cannot dance because of where we are placed! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Recovering Lost Connections

“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” — Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949.

Maybe we can't all own a farm, but that doesn't mean we have to lose our sense of connection to the land. I would say
losing our connection to the land is to lose something of ourselves.

Like most people, almost all of our food comes from a grocery store. We do keep a small vegetable garden, however—and it does make a difference at our table. Last year we harvested 60 quarts of green beans, and there's nothing like the taste of homegrown tomatoes. Working the soil, planting seed, praying for rain, and picking a harvest connect us to our past and to the land. Raising our own food, even if it's just a small amount, seems to touch something deep within. Our family garden satisfies a hunger that can't be filled from any grocery store. Such things can't be bought with money.


Go Out and Play!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Learn of the Green World – Peace, Health, and Diversity

I've been thinking about racial and cultural diversity lately, and I'm thinking maybe we should take a cue from nature. Healthy ecosystems are messy and usually have an incredibly diverse membership. All the lives are connected in wildly complex ways. Indeed, it's sometimes difficult to see where one life ends and another begins. Unhealthy ecosystems, on the other hand, look more like the carpet of a well manicured lawn. It may look pretty for a moment, but this is an illusion that will dissolve as soon as the gardener steps away.

Why can't we see the beauty of diversity in human communities? Are we really so afraid? Some people have such an us-versus-them mentality they can't think of the world any other way. When you speak of the human race they seem to think you're talking about a competition. It's sad. They miss out on a delight and joy that can only be found in diversity.

My guess is that communities may actually require rich diversity to be healthy and stable. Perhaps we need all the messy, complicated, tangled interrelationships. Compare a lawn to a forest. Unlike the lawn, a forest—with its thousands and millions of interconnected lives—goes on year after year, always dynamic and changing but always profoundly stable and changeless. Maybe true peace looks more like a healthy forest and less like a pretty lawn. Maybe diversity is good for stability. Maybe diversity should be celebrated instead of feared.