Sunday, March 2, 2008

Knowing Our Place ©

By Bill Longworth,
March 5, 2008

The sights and sounds of nature--the singing brook gently trickling over the undulations of the creek bed; the wind whispering softly as it makes its way through the lazily swaying grasses; the birds chirping their melody at the happiness of the abundance in their lives. Such visions attest to the Hand of God.

Such visions attract the many that leave the noise, the clutter, the concrete, and the traffic of the big cities to seek the peace, the solitude, the tranquility of country life.

Somehow such peacefulness does something to the human psyche. It soothes the soul. It rearranges human priorities. It slows the pace of life. It transforms your thoughts of all that is important. It takes you back to a better time of the carefree days of youth when the present consumed all your thoughts; a time when you were never concerned about yesterday or tomorrow.

There are many ways that we seek this solace in yesteryear. We cottage. We camp. We travel to quiet and beautiful places. All of this to escape the present and relish in the bountifulness of our world which transports us emotionally to a carefree place where all our worries are forgotten.

One has to slow down, as they say, to smell the roses; to relish in the details of our place; to see the beauty in each blade of grass; to feel the luxuriousness of the forest; to wonder away your time marveling at the antics of the butterfly, the cricket, or the squirrel scampering to put away its winter food supplies.

Somehow, all of this seems a requirement for a fulfilled and happy life. It slows us down so we can seek pleasure in the lazy and non-productive activities that spelled disaster in the world we knew.

This is a cycle of life that we start to appreciate as our ambitions of the work world dissipate, and we become increasingly aware of what we think is truly important.

There is a counterbalance to this cycle of life, however, that jeopardizes the harmony of mind and body bringing it into conflict with the present as one becomes too comfortable. The conflict starts to agitate for the excitement and the pace and the convenience of the city life we once knew.

Perhaps life is such that we can never be satisfied. We always yearn for that which we don’t have.

The natural world soothing the harmony of mind and body gives way to another mind and body symmetry arising out of a need for mental and physical stimulus the noise, the excitement, and the possibilities that only the city can provide.

Alas! Just as the human spirit seeks constant change, the world itself is changing. It’s a place some would even call progressing. And so change comes to those tranquil places that once we sought. It arrives with the bullying of huge equipment--bulldozers, steam shovels, and construction crews to bring change to the world we once thought we wanted…and perhaps we need.

What is it about man that makes us want to put our own mark on everything we touch? What is it about us that make us transform our God-given world?

Is it that only continual anticipated change can bring happiness and contentment to humanity? Is true satisfaction and joy simply the contemplation of possessing those things we don’t at present have?

Perhaps! Perhaps! If so, happiness and joy is forever fleeting in our human existence. And the world we once had will be forever lost.


Letter to My Mother" excerpted from SMALL WONDER. Copyright 2002 by Barbara Kingsolver. HarperCollins Publishers

Knowing Our Place From Mother Earth News

Nature's Inspiration from

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