The Australian natives called the “Real People” call us mutants. They are kind, if we consider what the Kogi natives from Northern Colombia call us. They say we are dead; the dead people.
Because we have lost connection to the rest of the natural world so radically that we do not have the energy to be fully, vibrantly alive.
As I write these words, a tree is being cut in the garden outside my window.
It was a beautiful, exuberant tree with luscious branches that harbored birds, gave flowers and made my mornings a delight. It gifted me with its shadow and its green splendor. But it was more than that. It was a friend. It had inspired me many poems, taught me many life lessons, answered many of my questions. It shared my dreams and healed me when I was sick.
Today I woke up when a beautiful dream suddenly turned into a nightmare. I got up and heard the giant saws and looked out of the window to see my friend being mutilated. I looked at the label in the machine. “Tree Service.”
You mean that this is a service to the tree? Would you cut off your arms as a service to yourself?
But then I realize that the Kogis are right.
Our Heart is closed
I realize that we, an intelligent species, believe that trees are dead objects –even though somewhere in science I remember Mrs. Smith telling me that they were living, breathing beings. That little detail seems to have escaped us.
We do not respect anything that does not talk loudly and shows us it can express itself logically, can work or produce something tangible and has money to buy things or can vote for us.
Why would we love trees any better than we love our grandmothers, who are vegetating in homes, forgotten because they were already squeezed of every ounce of labor strength or because now they are not talking logically, not remembering linearly. So even though there are natural remedies and activities that can improve their conditions, we just archive them like a memory and forget them while they are still alive.
And how about our children? So many of them are starving in one of the “richest” countries of the world?
What about poor people? We give them the pittance of Welfare and blame them for being poor, making sure that even that little help is not enough (so they stay poor), that they cannot receive training in any truly useful occupation that will free them from poverty and if they seek non-legal alternatives, sending them to prison. Our prisons are packed with young Latinos and African-American boys who were just trying to make a buck the only way that was easily available.
And what of our young people? Eager to learn, eager to contribute, full of life? We fail them too, as we have removed most student aid and force them to contract massive debts with student loans they often cannot pay after they graduate because they cannot find jobs.
Let’s talk about mothers, those powerful beings that birth humankind and are the hub of community. How do we support them? How many corporations or buildings have free daycare? Why are women earning less than men for the same job, even in the 21st century?
And finally, let’s look at ourselves. As we disconnect from the planet, we disconnect from our body and the food and lifestyle it needs to be healthy. If we eat poison ourselves, it follows that we care not that we are poison the Earth!
I feel the massive lack of love in all these actions and it breaks my heart. Today I grieve for my tree friend and for all humanity.
We are Deaf
Why would we care about trees that only talk to those who listen? We do not listen to the cries of the those around us, those who request, protest, scream, roar or beg. How on earth could we hear the plea of those who talk not with logical words, but with acts of love that heal us and keep the very earth on balance?
We have grown deaf to all that is alive. We have grown indifferent to life itself. We have hidden in the caves of comfort and remain in the TV trance and the survival mode.
And as a result of our brutal disconnection from this beautiful planet, we are killing Earth Mother without even giving a second thought to the fact that we will die as she does, for our life is entirely her gift.
Our Rational Insanity
We call ourselves intelligent and value logic, science and math above the softer wisdom of poetry, stories, imagination or soul-seeking.
Yet, for all our logical prowess, we are acting in wildly insane ways because our disconnection from the natural world has incapacitated us as agents of growth –which is our original purpose.
We Stand Alone
My heart is grieving for my murdered friend and for two other trees that have been sick after the Sandy Storm, but remain uncut, suffering as they wilt and perhaps threaten the other trees around.
Yet the one beautiful healthy tree was cut. Why? Perhaps someone complained that it was grazing its window. Perhaps it grew above the standards of some official measurement.
Behind the callous, unceremonial way in which my tree friend was destroyed may be many excuses and measurements. But the true reason is clear to the Kogi indians.
We are dead. We do not have enough connection to the vibrant life around us to feel a part of it, so we stand alone, attacking the natural world as our enemy and destroying this beautiful earth and ourselves with it.
How to Come Alive
I usually write posts to inspire and empower you. And you may be feeling depressed at these words.
Don’t get “depressed.” Get sad because this state of affairs is tragic and real. Inspiration is the act of breathing life into dead hearts, not the mechanism of denial.
If your heart is open, it hurts. But only with an open heart can we grow and heal and restore balance to the earth. So be sad. Be powerfully, creatively, lovingly sad for the one legged, the four legged and the two legged, for Gaea, for all of us.
Get sad and then get mad. Get lovingly, creatively, passionately mad. And then let your heart and gut guide you to create healing actions for this world.
Get mad, as I am right now… and DO something about it. It doesn’t have to be a BIG something. Do the best you can. I am writing this post.
What can you do on behalf of out trees, our planet, our elders, our youth, our mothers, our poor and our capacity to connect to and heal the damage we have created in this beautiful world? Go do the best you can. You’ll be my s/hero today.
Tomorrow: the Message of the Kogi