Saturday, June 19, 2010

One must make shift with things as they are

After walking downtown from SVA, I wandered through the Housing Works bookstore on Crosby street. One of my favorite used bookstores and cafes.  I can never figure out the cafe hours though, and it seems to be always closed when I'm at the bookstore. But, you can sit at the cafe tables anyway, and read, drink the water you have in your bag, and absorb the great vibes of this store.  I love those wonderful books and mahogany bookshelves.

I usually buy a $1 book and find some treasure or another that I can then give as a gift to a friend. My latest find is "A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There" by Aldo Leopold, illustrated by Charles W. Schwartz published 1949.

It starts with "there are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot."

It made me think - who am I? Am I one who can or cannot? I am drawn to wild things - and frightened by them. Long to loose myself in the natural world and yet I hide in cities - have my entire life.

He says "conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

"Land is to be loved and respected because it is an extension of ethics." It is right. Simple. I like him.

I was so moved by this. Perhaps as the world experiences ruin in a continuous death gasp of modernity, our sham recovery and unadvertised depression, we, the creative, the spiritual, the everywoman/man will voluntarily reconnect with inner and natural value.  We can develop an ecology of spirit in line with Leopold's observations of 60 years ago.  I think. I hope. I'm not sure.  I don't like camping. I don't like bugs. But I do love the open sky, and the open ocean. And watching National Geographic.

" ...whatever the truth may be, this much is crystal clear: our bigger-and-better society is now like a hypochondriac, so obsessed with its own economic health as to have lost the capacity to remain healthy. The whole world is so greedy for more bathtubs that it has lost the stability necessary to build them, or even to turn off the tap. Nothing could be more salutary at this stage than a little healthy contempt for a plethora of material blessings.  Perhaps such a shift of values can be achieved by reappraising things unnatural, tame and confined in terms of things natural, wild and free. "

Natural, wild and free.  I'm game ( no pun intended). Maybe I can let myself be wild.  Perhaps all I need is curiosity, and I don't have to camp.  Maybe I can just open my eyes to the natural world, and sit in the silence that is true, and in that complexity and simplicity that is real - make shift with things as they are.

As long as there are no bugs, I think I can do it.

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