Squandering Our Gift
I am currently 3/4 of the way through Rogue River Journal by John Daniel. It’s an excellent book and I’ve jotted down several paragraphs that have made an impact on my thinking.
Taking a page from Thoreau, John heads to the Rogue River Valley for a winter writing retreat and this is his journal. His reflections on human impact and influence are insightful. This one, in particular, made me stop this morning and write this post (emphasis mine):
There is plenty of awareness in the canyon. The bear, the osprey, even the ants evince their own degree of consciousness, which must, like physiological features, be a graded continuum across the gamut of living things. I’m lucky enough, I believe, to possess the most acute consciousness here–not the sharpest perception, which surely belongs to the osprey’s eyes, to the noses of bear and deer, to owls who hear the footfalls of mice.
Yet, given this miraculous endowment, I and my kind use it poorly. We fill our awareness with trivia and distractions, turn it to distrust and hatred, to violence against our own kind and the other lives of nature.
Yes, we do make beauty and often act generously with this chance or intended spark that has lighted our minds, but around that beauty and generosity, look at the brutality and stupidness. Look at the ways we squander our gift, as no bear, grouse, osprey, bobcat, or even a single ant would waste theirs.
– John Daniel
We can, and must, do better. Join me in this mission to save the planet, and in so doing, ourselves. The first step is to acknowledge that we are the problem. Be aware. Be well. Do something.