Monday, September 12, 2005

The great outdoors

I spent a lot of time over these passed two weekends outside. From hiking in Turkey Swamp Park to strolling about Ocean Grove to walks in my neighborhood to sitting on a bench in Palmer Square, I was among the best of the natural world and I marveled at its beauty in all shapes and sizes.

Often, when walking, I enjoy closing my eyes and listening to the sounds of the birds chirping and the breeze blowing. When I am near the ocean or along a lake in the Poconos sitting on a dock reading a book, I am blessed by the added sounds of the water, whether gently flowing on the lake or breaking as waves along the coastline.

In recent days, we have seen the worst that nature has to offer in Hurricane Katrina. It can be fierce and unforgiving at times and requires a vast amount of respect and even fear. And still, I love the natural world with all of my being.

It takes a different type of person to truly understand and appreciate the trees, grass, water, birds, and other living things in the way I do. The connectivity to the energies of all living things is a unique pleasure, and if you do not open your being to this flow, you miss it. Only if you allow yourself to become one with the world around you, can you honestly feel everything. In these sensations come peace, joy and calm.

With these feelings, comes a thankfulness that I am a progressive and environmentalist. We sometimes fail on the left in doing right by the world. Plans don't work and choices are wrong. We get side-tracked and distracted. However, the motivations are correct, the cause noble and the value placed on all things living as being our equals is part and parcel of being an environmentally-conscious progressive.

A focus on business at all costs, blind consumption of resources, superiority of self over all the so-called tools for disposal on this planet, and short-sightedness of thinking cannot be a part of anyone who claims to love the world we live in. Oh sure, a person can go on trips to parks and wander about in the natural world taking pictures. But if you love it, truly love it, you cannot turn around and be a party to its destruction.

I am proud to be a bleeding heart, for with each drop of blood comes a corresponding appreciation and love. My plans might not always be the best, those that I vote for will sometimes fail me and I cannot insure the interests of everything living will receive the attention deserved in every instance. However, my motivations are as pure as they can be and I can walk among the trees, birds, lakes, crickets, and other living things knowing that my goal is not to exhaust them or harm them, but to appreciate, respect and share in what they have to offer and receive.

Go sit in a field today if you can with your shoes off and feel the grass between your toes. Walk along the ocean and watch the waves break. Climb a mountain path and smell the cleaner air.

Close your eyes and listen to what the world has to say.

Those who show their love of the natural world as reflections of the policies and politics that they subscribe to, will understand me. Those who fight against this natural world are sadly missing the best that it can offer.

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