Artful Land Care

The Tyranny of Hateful Language

In Doctrine of Discovery, Theology on January 14, 2018 at 7:41 am

The first three days of this week I lived and conversed with family, friends and neighbors about our human need to become family with the fullness of Creation.  I was at Winter Talk and this was a time of imagining with a hint of visioning of whom we might become if we could set our heart and spirit to hearing the voice of soil and water, plant and animal, and wind.  There is great hope in having a group of people wander the outskirts rationality, look beyond the logical ridges that have bounded us for generations, and wonder a grace which includes that Creation which we could not dream as kin.  Yet a truth still lies at the feet of such inspiration.  We can never know such wonderment until we first get it right with that Creation which most looks like us, smells like us, and feels like us.

I’d hardly returned home when the comment came over the radio.  “Goddamn reservation.”  The phrase was not word for word “goddamn reservation,” but word exactness was not the point of the comment I’ve heard many times.  The incendiary comment has one purpose, to instill anger, fear, and agreement.

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The Dark of Being Them

In Peace & Justice on December 11, 2017 at 9:19 am

6:15 in the morning and it is winter dark.  The calendar say autumn, but autumn left the landscape weeks ago.  Was it summer “outside,” work would have commenced an hour ago. Visioning of lighted mornings is lost in this dark of near solstice.  Dark thinking replaces visioning on these unlighted mornings.  Thoughts of vindictiveness, “I told you so,” and the brutality—I try hard to hide—bubble up like the foul gasses of childhoods landlocked ponds.

The downfall of so many in so little time: Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey.  The list goes on.  To place a name at the top of the list is impossible.  The tearing of women’s bodies, emotions, intellect, spirit has gone on so long no one remembers the first.  One might choose an ancient event, such as David and his rape of Bathsheba.  Or one go with modernity and the boastful recording of sexual violence of one, whom like David, so many preferred to lead a nation.  And in the midst of so much, who would be surprised—after having presidential support hung him like a medal of honor—if normal, everyday, Alabama folk elected Roy Moore to office tomorrow?

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Heavens Cry

In Doctrine of Discovery, Landscape on December 4, 2017 at 8:02 am

We have become people who can live without the wild.  We will watch The Reverant and imagine and talk about the wild 1800’s.  We will ride a ski lift, look across vast lands of wild and imagine being wild as we ski alongside hundreds on the downslope.  We day hike in refuges and National Parks and think we are one with the wild.  But we believe we can live without it.

As President Trumps emasculates Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments today, it is hard to imagine him having ever backpacked the high country or the low country.  Though carrying all argumentative swagger boasting style of Teddy Roosevelt, he brings the modern dream of timber rather than trees and oil-copper-fracking rather than landscape.  Though the act is deplorable, the reduction of wild fits the US mindset of a growing-building economy rather than a maintaining-healing-imagining economy.

The loss is more than a loss of wild in favor of land development.  The loss tears at the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of people and animals and plants and soil.  Life, in all forms, live better when the imagination allows for the unknown around the next corner.  Vision of the unknown is something American settlers and American Natives had in common.