“In God’s wildness is the hope of the world,”
wrote John Muir while tramping through Alaska on
a long mission to meet that hope on its own terms.
Not to snub the majesty of perfect sunsets,
Muir might hasten to add, but is there a
nobler expression of divine engagement,
of a super-charged world ripe and
overflowing with portent and awe,
than a severely blackened sky followed by
lightning cascading across its canvas?
Or even in suburbia, biking in a hot howling wind,
when one forsakes actually getting anywhere, but
instead peddles slowly, mouth agape at neighborhood
trees gone horizontal under relentless gusts.
One is given to laughter in these moments,
marveling at the audacity of us humans,
all puffed up with self-importance,
Charlie Chaplin characters marching up to
Brawny Nature and proclaiming our freedom
from its transgressions with the bulwarks of
our houses and stores, bricks and concrete.
Is there anything more futile than flood or
hurricane survivors, their world awash,
staring into the television camera and
vowing to rebuild “on this very spot!”?
We are gods in our own minds, though
who is to say we are not better for the effort?
Perhaps the vanquished will rebuild indeed,
and a worthy story it will make, but the
reaper shall take its due from them and
you and me, too, all of us falling, falling, every
last shred of our world collapsing back into the
great (and natural) void from where we emerged.
A bald fact, that, serving as both balm and spur,
humbler and motivator, mocking and cajoling us to
live, now, bodacious beasts probing the wildness within.
Longtime readers with really good memories might sense a familiar note or two in the above, which I adapted from a relevant paragraph in an August, 2013 post on John Muir and rendered into this experiment in poetic form. (Because some things are just worth emphasizing again…)
Meanwhile, you’re invited to visit my 1-minute daily blog on Facebook, where I present snippets of wisdom and other musings from the world’s great thinkers and artists, accompanied always by lovely photography from the world of Flickr. http://www.facebook.com/TraversingBlog
Deep appreciation to the photographers!
Elizabeth Haslam, whose photos grace the rotating banner at the top of this page. Some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/
Photo of crashing waves on lighthouse by Alfonso Maseda Varela, A Coruña, Spain, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/braveheart1999/