Passage written from my Garden on May 29, 2008.
I look at the mulberry seedlings that I recently planted. I look at the beautiful purple cornflower that I planted a few hours ago. I look at the dogwood and the maple tree. I look at the bamboo towering over the fence. I look at the sea of wildflower seedlings that cover the soil like a warm winter blanket of life. I see the row of peas along the north fence and the strawberries along the south fence.
I see all these things — these growing and flourishing plants — and I remember to just a few months back when this piece of land was nothing even close to resembling a fine garden which it is today. Once choked with weeds, laden with dead logs, and smothered with feet of hay, this garden is now vibrant with green lush foliage, a path with 12 round walking stones, and even a few halved coconut shells filled with seeds for the birds.
I see this garden as a symbol depicting my partnership with nature. I helped nature by watering her seedlings on dry days and protecting her seeds from weeds and insects.
Does not the bird help nature by passing her seeds through her waste matter over a field? Does not the cow help nature by fertilizing the grass with her manure? Does not the worm help nature by keeping her soil porous and full of oxygen?
What can man say for his contribution to helping nature? We spend time clearing fields to grow crops for US. We clear-cut ancient forests to sell for wood to make US rich. We cut the lawn to look nice and neat so the neighbors may envy US. We grow the apple tree to pick apples for US. We water the flower to keep it in bloom for US.
Why must it always be about “US” when embarking on a relationship with nature? Can we not do things to help protect, conserve, and preserve nature solely because of the good of it? Why must dollar and cent signs appear in our minds when thinking about nature? Why must we constantly strive to conquer and control nature instead of letting nature be? Why can’t we live in harmony with plants and the animals, just as the bird does?
Do we not understand that from nature, we exist?
Can we not make this simple connection — this fact of life?
No matter how much we abuse nature — cutting her down, selling her off, and raping and pillaging her land, she never gives up on us; she never gives up on life. Cut a forest down, and in a few hundred years it’ll be back thicker than ever. Mow your lawn and let it be for a week, and it’s back. Cut the apple tree, leaving the base of the trunk, come back in a year and see the cage of vertical branches surrounding and protecting the felled trunk.
But not all of nature is so resilient to our human wrath! Kill a species of trees from the noxious practice of unsustainable logging of old-growth forests, and those trees are gone forever! Chop down and uproot all the pine trees in your yard, and don’t expect to see them returning.
So the question is: Is there a balance? Where does man draw the line between working with nature and taking advantage of nature? I believe that I ask this question in vein and any answer will futile at best. To even ask such a question means that we’ve already crossed that line a long, long time ago.
We are no longer stewards of nature, but rather stealers of nature. We steal with great impunity and zeal for financial gains. Blindly raping our very mothers which enabled is to live on this fecund planet.
I fear that one day nature will finally say “enough is enough!” and turn her back on us as we have done unto her. Our planet can live without humans, but it can’t live without ants. So who do you think nature would rather protect if given the choice.
And we, silly humans, think that we are running the show? Ha! Not even close.
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