Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Can you breathe nature in?

One day's exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books. See how willingly Nature poses herself upon photographers' plates. No earthly chemicals are so sensitive as those of the human soul.
- John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

Muir was such a tree-hugger, wasn't he? Who really cares about those huge piles of rocks. Surely postcards and National Geographic movies are enough.

Eighty-five percent of North Americans live in cities or urban areas today. That leaves 15 percent spread around a huge land area. Many city dwellers rarely get out of the city. Some escape to a cottage by a lake or to a forest or meadowland, only to convert their "natural" escape environment into surburan properties, cutting down trees, building huge cabins, installing satellite dishes and high speed internet. They take the city into the country, then convert the countryside to be what they are most familiar with.

It's what city people do in the city.

Meanwhile, that steadily diminishing 15 percent try to hold the line to prevent the nature they love so desperately from being destroyed, from being plowed under to build factory farms or suburb-like getaways.

As societies, we have become so alienated from nature that we take it for granted that the natural environment away from cities should be transformed into city-substitutes as we see fit or as we see the need to make ourselves more comfortable in our escapes.

To very few people, John Muir expressed more than simply a love of mountains. Beneath the surface is an expression of the level of spirituality he reached by being able to touch real nature, to be able to breathe it in, to make himself part of it (rather than making it a part of him).

Muir campaigned to save trees, mountains, streams and other components of nature. What he should have been trying to save was people.

When people speak of being able to breathe in nature, you know that they have reached a higher level of humanity than their neighbours who can't appreciate what it means. It means they have a very different concept of God than those neighbours.

However, those who are at that level seldom want to proselytize others to join them. Only followers of conventional religions do that.

The exalted ones avoid conflict because it has no purpose for their lives. Or their being.

They are who they can be.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to bring the people to the mountains so they can breathe in nature before it's lost to them.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

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