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Nature and Progress

Several years ago, Kathy and I drove through the Crowsnest Pass to Spokane. I stopped at an overlook in Brocket. The Pikani Nation (Aapátohsipikáni, Piikáni, and Pekuni) people live there. The sight was awe-inspiring with a contrast between Nature and a wind power farm designed with precision suggesting humans control the environment. How different this idea is from farming in tradtional ways. Nature humbles me when I pause to understand and be grateful for my place and role in it, not as an outsider colonizing and domesticating.

Progress creates an illusion we control Nature. It humbles me when it reminds me that is not a true picture. It is humbling when I pause to understand what a small place I hold in its complete picture, a picture too large to be fully grasped by individuals and collectives.

It is times such as these, not limited to the pandemic, Nature holds the upper hand. It is a Creator, which can be understood in religious terms and in spiritual terms.

Acting as backdrop;

Mountains, sky, clouds,

Providing depth and breadth,

Contrasting our progress.

Human products,

Made by mortal hands,

Marching winged machines,

Small, almost indistinct on this canvas.

Without pattern, yet poetic

River meandering a perfect line,

Finding its way,

Unseen hands guiding,

Winding its way home.

Brocket 1

“Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth. This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. One thing we know: our god is also your god. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.” Chief Seattle

Life is a River

Kathy and I head to Phoenix tomorrow. The contrast in weather is sharp. It is -60 C with lots of snow here and +280 C in Phoenix, but apparently they are ‘suffering’ through a heat wave. I considered a poem about a phoenix rising from ashes, but opted for one that percolated for a while.

I began to think about this topic as we wrote life metaphors. There is no shortage of ways of seeing life, but a constant theme, for me, is a journey. I voyage into the unknown, but I still see what slowly disappears around river bends or as the river drops. There is no preset map, but it is the letting go of certainty that I welcome.

A journey from headwaters

Self-discovery;

Always seek the hidden

Evident truths.

Turbulent rapids

Still waters;

A visible contrast

An invisible path.

Fight the currents

Chaos gives way;

Languish in mysterious pools–

Life`s depth revealed.

New, unknown shorelines–

Welcome them;

Familiar sights fade, yet remain;

Both are navigational instruments.

Safe passage

Without false certainty;

Sets life`s course–

The course of a life well-lived.

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