by Kesh Brown
It’s a mostly sunny Friday afternoon. I’m sitting by a quiet little mountain creek that falls along the northern edge of a Redwood forest. Yup, that’s me in the picture. Pretty, huh. The stream, I mean.
It’s June 1, 2018, and as of today, I’ve crawled, walked, hiked, biked, driven, climbed, swam, run, and paddled a canoe across the widely varied terrain of this earthly paradise for a full sixty years.
Sounds tiring when looked at that way, doesn’t it? But I’ve loved every minute of it. And rest assured, I’ve spent plenty of time sitting on my butt, too. Mostly work related. Poor career choice, you know. I was never meant to work an office job, but wound up there nonetheless. Should have listened to my high school guidance counselor. He said I was probably well suited for a career with the forestry service. But seventeen year old boys aren’t given to listening to authority, and I was no exception. Stupid kid!
Anyway, none of this has anything to do with what I want to share today, except for the part about sitting at this gorgeous little secret of a spot on this still beautiful but seriously struggling planet. Its a spot I know most folks may never get to experience. And that’s the part that breaks my heart.
Welcome to Sacred Life.
This is the kind of place that heals you. A place where one feels the need to walk awhile— alone, awake and aware. Few humans ever find their way here. Places like this speak the language of your truer, primal nature. Elementals gather to usher you into the present moment. Earth and air, wood and stone, water and sun-fire, flood your animal senses, and pull you into spaces you lost track of long ago. Spaces sorely in need of healing.
The veils lift slowly at first, almost imperceptibly, like morning fog burning off the beach. Illusions and delusions borne in the world of men begin to splinter in your mind. The usual suspects—to-do lists, your job, your mortgage, useless thoughts and emotions, worries about the future, regrets over past choices, thoughts of money or possessions, and anything and everything else that is not in and of the present moment—just seem to quietly slip out of whatever room in your mind they normally occupy.
Then all at once, you take notice of how much lighter you feel. And free. Maybe even a little wild.
Welcome home. Now you’re you. And you’re filled with Life. Real life. Raw. Unfiltered. True. Sacred.
This poor conflicted heart of mine.
My heart knows that if I took you here, you would fall back in love with the earth. You would reconnect with life on a primal level, and I would get to watch as the elements pulled you in and wrapped you in the warmth of the sun, the strength of the trees, the song of the waters. And I would revel in the joy of seeing the gentle forest breezes fill you with true peace. And it would be beautiful. What a gift!
But. But. But.
What if my secret plot to convert you into a dirt-lovin’, tree huggin’, bonafide warrior-defender of the earth actually works? What if you fall completely head-over-heels in love with my secret spot? I mean, that’s great an all, at least on the surface. Mission accomplished. Yay, me!
What if, like me, your enthusiasm for all this sacred nature calls you to share it with another human being? And they too fall passionately in love with the place. And they too feel the need to share it with others. And on and on it goes.
On the one hand, that’s pretty great, because more and more human beings are re-finding a deep connection with life. And if we’re to have even the slightest chance of getting out from under the mess we humans have made of our beautiful planet, we’re gonna need a whole helluva lot more of us to actually care about the devastation industrial civilization is wreaking upon our beloved mother.
But on the other hand, the more humans who take to visiting my once secret spot, the more it too will get trampled and trashed.
Soon enough whole families will show up to spend the day. A harried new mom will forget about the dirty diaper she changed and stashed behind a tree. A six year old will drop his juice-box while playing in the stream. Some teenagers will decide the place really needs a rope swing, and maybe a treehouse.
And sooner or later, some dude is gonna show up here who, just like our fore-fathers when they decided the ancient redwoods were far to valuable money-wise to leave untouched, will now decide that my pretty little spot could really use a hotel, and maybe a casino for when folks get bored of looking at all that nature.
See where I’m going with this?
I’d love nothing more than to convert as many of my fellow humans as possible into true lovers of Mother Earth.
But what if it means we end up loving her to death?
What do I do with these thoughts?
It gets worse.
I recognize that if I leave it alone and simply allow things to take their natural course (or un-natural is more like it), the up and coming generations won’t ever find the true passion necessary to become real earth-defenders. How could they be expected to? They’ve been raised under a completely different set of values(?) than my generation.
Young people today are one step away from having their smart phones and tablets surgically attached. They seem unable to engage in real life, having grown up “amused to death” (apologies to Roger Waters), and with a twisted sense of entitlement that will reverberate through their lives for years to come.
Who will care about what’s happening to the earth?
How will we wake up to the fact that industrial civilization is killing the planet?
How will we fight to change the dominant paradigm of ever-expanding capitalism?
Who will lead humanity toward a new way of being?
Who will teach the children how to be in sacred relationship with all of life?
These and many similar thoughts and questions haunt me in my sleep. And I’m betting that the answers, if there are any, will turn out to be deeply complex and disjointed.
And maybe it’s too late to even matter.
Maybe civilization is gonna have to crash and burn and force those who remain to come into a new relationship with life on earth.
What do you think?