Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Backpacking on Mount Ellinor

(Quotes from Jesse Wolf Hardin, Gila, NM)

Even now, enshrouded in a crust of asphalt and concrete, the Earth is wild, willed, directed and empowered by its own inner nature rather than some conglomeration of outward ideas. Gaia is faithful to its natural processes .. those rhythmic patterns of impermanence and change, mounting waves of their own fertile heat, then birth and death of Gaia's varied parts, the flex and pause of Earth's heart muscle pumping new life through arteries in time.

And as integral extensions of Gaia, we too are originally wild: deeply willed, and willful. For safety, certainty n d comfort we may try to deny our wildness, sacrificing our will as we seek shelter in the certain and the tame. Yet in spite of all the artifice and constraint of our times we remain instinctual, visionary beings. We are mirror made of dancing flesh, interterrestrial sensors, activated nerve endings extending from the gaian ganglion into the evershifting universe.

The human spirit dies when it is tamed, and the human species cannot long survive the deliberate unraveling of contextual Nature. Rational mind, government and science cannot alone cure the environmental crisis, which is first and foremost a crisis of value and character. By recognizing perception as the instrumental element in our kind's estrangement and resulting destruction behavior, we have the option of participating in the inevitable cure. The return to balance spoken of by most "primitive" cultures requires a deliberate shifting of the total weight of human perception in the direction of relationship, wildness, and love.

Without a doubt, we ignore the attentions of the animal world at our own peril. One by one the shrinking ponds cease to ring out with the glad croaking songs of frogs. One by one they are hushed by the weight of our presence and by what we, as lovers of this Earth have yet failed to do. The moonless nights may soon be as still as stone. In the face of such a final silence, we should be "all ears": attentive, concerned, and vigorously responsive.

When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego
and when we escape like rats
turning in the cages of our personality
and get into the forests again,
we shall shiver with cold and fright
but things will happen to us
so that we don't know ourselves.
Cool, unlying life will rush in
and passion will make our bodies
taut with power
we shall tamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will
curl up like burnt paper
D.H. Lawrence

The domesticated animals, like the wild, are a set of messages. Living in a world which, at the level of the senses, is heavily man modified, congested, and polluted, the spavined horse, land scalping goat, and pea brained sheep are important signals. The pathos of the over fat pig, white rat stripped of nuance, and dog breeds with their congenital debilitation signals to us an aspect of the human condition.
Paul Shepard

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