Dear friends.. Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a few friends. I found myself mentioning the “culture of nature”, referring to being deeply engaged and fully present with nature. My phrase “culture of nature” seemed odd to some, and we had a thought provoking discussion. I left feeling uplifted, only to sink upon reading the news coming out of Texas..
Within the last twenty four hours I again wonder if we are decomposing or deteriorating as a culture. What makes culture, or a culture? The dictionary says: “the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group”. Who is to say that birds do not have customs? Or that the relationship between trees, bugs, birds, and seeds is not a social institution? I love the idea of the culture of nature. Perhaps if we study the natural world we may find an organic rhythm that flows, ebbs, rises and subsides. Of course, taking a bird’s eye view of history we will see these tides of change rise and fall. Ours is but a breath in the life of the history of our people. Yet every breath counts!
In the immediacy of the moment, I have to pause and find some element of grace around me. Take good care of yourself and those around you, today, and always.
This poem, by John O’Donohue (1956 -2008), Irish poet, priest, teacher, is what I will read every day this week.
As the fever of day calms towards twilight
May all that is strained in us come to ease
May we pray for all who suffered violence today,
May an unexpected serenity surprise them.
For those who risk their lives each day for peace,
May their hearts glimpse providence at the heart of history.
That those who make riches from violence and war
Might hear in their dreams the cries of the lost.
That we might see through our fear of each other
A new vision to heal our fatal attraction to aggression.
That those who enjoy the privilege of peace
Might not forget their tormented brothers and sisters.
That the wolf might lie down with the lamb,
That our swords be beaten into ploughshares
And no hurt or harm be done
Anywhere along the holy mountain.