By the time you are reading this post, I will be well on my way to our north country for almost a week of camping in a forest filled with lakes. I have decided to prepare this post for you so that there will something to read while I am gone. I have chosen a photo taken early this evening. One of the small crops we have grown in our small garden has been spaghetti squash. Now, just to be clear, I use the word “we” but I can take no credit other than by staying out of my wife’s way as she spends quality time with the soil and her plants. On occasion, I am allowed to apply water or to take away the dead plants.
Each of us has a passion that can be awakened in the outdoors. Some of us have more than one such passion for outdoor activity. I take photos and write, two of my passions that are compatible with being outdoors though I have to admit that writing outdoors is almost always using a pen or pencil in my hardcover journal. Together, my wife and I enjoy camping and hiking, preferably long distances. While hiking, we soon fall silent and find ourselves curiously attuned to the outer world of nature, and at the same time, finding ourselves in meditative states of silence while inner stuff gets worked over until it disappears or gets resolved. I guess you could call our hiking as much walking meditation as it is discovery of the mysteries and beauty of nature.
We are not really “separate” from our world. Like anthropologists have long recognised, simply in observing, one becomes part of what is observed, an integral part of the whole who is in turn watched. Our simple presence changes the ecosystem in spite of all attempts to limit our “footprint.” One of the most amazing things to discover along the way is that there is no judgments of rightness or wrongness. Nature just is. Nature has so many faces and moods that come to mirror our own inner faces and moods. Nature is beyond Good and Evil. If we could only learn that in spite of all of our beliefs and theories, we, nature’s children, are in the end, beyond Good and Evil. In saying this, it doesn’t mean that nature doesn’t destroy, maim and kill – nature happens. When a tornado, earthquake or hurricane spreads death and destruction, we don’t look to a law book to somehow make nature pay a price for these acts. We accept the fact that rainbows and volcanic eruptions are both faces of nature, legitimate faces.
Yet, we aren’t so kind to ourselves as we create all sorts of codes to try and control humanity. In spite of the fact that we are essentially naked beings, we have found all sorts of ways to hide that fact and to punish, one way or another, those who refuse to honour the pact to hide the human body We threaten with eternal damnation. We levy fines. We ostracize and ridicule those who refuse to be ashamed of their natural state as a human. We imprison those who are too much in our faces with their nudity. The prohibitions against nudity is pervasive, yet we somehow manage to accept nudity if we, as a society, can profit from that nudity. It is this nudity for profit that shows our dark face as a species. Who really expected that humans could ever be anything other than a complex creature in a complex natural world where violence and beauty walk hand in hand, in balance.