I spent yesterday afternoon pondering my new book … and wondering where the spring is. The weather is so cold and spring is so late. Floods are now penetrating the home areas of the many people along the Mississippi and I cannot help but think how I would feel if I had been given the message to pack up my home, because in four days, it would be underwater. My God, how my heart hurts for these people. If ever you needed a reason to pray for the people you will never meet, you have it now. And where is the news about Japan, by the way?
So, while wondering about these global events, I noticed a bird beginning to build a nest on the lattice work that frames my porch. If I stand up, I can easily touch her nest. I never watched a bird literally build a nest from start to finish. I could not stop watching this unbelievable, exquisite, determined, strategic task. With each flight, she brought back a twig, a leaf, or something else, and wove it into her growing nest. Rarely have I sat in such stillness so effortlessly, as I did not want to disturb her. (But I also realized she now has full control of my porch until her chicks are born, hatched, and able to take flight.) I could never build such a nest, something so solid that it would withstand all the upcoming storms of the summer and the Midwestern winds. How is it these small creatures know how to perform their tasks so perfectly? And how is it that we don’t?
What is it about our nature that makes us stray from our essential center point – the task at hand, so to speak. I wonder. Nature has a built-in wisdom in every single detail of her creation, including us. We belong to the wisdom of nature; nature does not belong to us. The essential wisdom of nature is interconnectedness. The birds take the twigs, the fallen dead matter from the trees, which they use to make a home for new life. Everything is used and reused and returned to the earth. As soon as a person steps out of the consciousness of wisdom, and becomes separated from the cycle of life, that person has to spin a myth of his or her own. That’s where humanity went awry.
Spinning a myth of separation from the laws of nature, believing that we could control or dominate the force of life itself – through science, through technology, through arrogance – has been our greatest folly. Can science stop the Mississippi? … earthquakes? … or a volcano from erupting? We continue to believe that science and technology are going to salvage us from the impending problems facing our environment, when science and technology are the cause of so many problems – evidenced by the nuclear disaster in Japan, Monsanto’s genetically modified products (GMOs), the decline of the bee population due to pollution, and so on. Add to that a pervasive belief that we license to do whatever we want to the environment because it’s not really “alive.” Well, it is “alive” but not the way “we” are alive.
What do you see when you look out the window or when you are out in the world? And when your thoughts turn to realizing that this planet, this life of ours is in need of help, what is your response? A bird can build a nest in a day. Imagine what a focused human being could do in a day to make a difference in this world.