When we arrived I sat on the porch and watched the range. It fills most of the sky, and is so close only the farthest part begins to turn faintly blue. I felt a persistent melancholy; a grief dragging at my enjoyment, with a little guilt thrown in. So much of this beauty is under threat. So much will die in the global warming disasters. So much has already been lost. I feel guilty because I am here in luxury denied to most of the world, using nature's resources, and doing nothing to make things better.
As for as I can see from the front door are insectivorous plants- Drosera, bright green against the grass. There are always roos in sight, grazing like so many sheep. And emus, species of cockatoo and parrot, orchids, many different papillionate flowers.... The diversity is staggering. At night the crickets racket to fill the dark. The bobble of frogs seeming to talk back and forth to each other is like a sub- melody underneath them. My street at home is a barren wasteland by comparison.
The forest is a tangle of trees. The roos speed straight through. The rest of us must carefully pick our way threading around obstacles and stooping under branches. And suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a group of them, all silently watching us. We drove up the mountain yesterday and went through a dozen eco- systems, sometimes seeing the changes in a matter of yards.
We have been taught so deeply we are unaware of it, that what we hold significant and beautiful, should persist. As personal salvation loses its persuasiveness and power, what remains for us but the survival of our children, our art and technology, our nation... or at least people, and the beauty of the land? All of this could go, as we burn rainforests for hamburgers, woodchip the old growth forests, salivate the soil, choke the rivers, and change the chemical composition of the very air we breathe!
The fear primary students feel when they learn the sun will die is assuaged by the hopeful promise that "by then" we will be able to travel to other stars- and, "anyway, its a huge long time away." It takes longer to realise that We, the great extinctor of species, are but a species ourselves. Survival is no norm; extinction is the norm. Even a species who "evolved" to something else is extinct. It is arguable, obvious even, that we are changing our environment so much we may no longer be able to adapt. Life will go on; we may not. Probably we will not.
What is the meaning of life if the species dies? Is their meaning if far distant perspective shows us as the great destroyers, now thankfully cleansed from the planet?
It seems to me there is some kind of overarching life force at work in what we experience. Something much greater than us, something we are part of, but something in which we are not necessarily the crown of creation. It will go on despite us, and even without us. To have lived in this, and seen its power and beauty is enough.
Even if it appears we are bound for disaster, and there is no future to us, my heart finds I want to go on. Why? Because I have seen the star and it is beautiful . It is beautiful. I have felt. I have loved. I have been loved. I have known joy and been its cause. This is enough, whatever may come .
Posted October 2005
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