Bird Droppings March 8, 2012
Examine carefully the threads of life
“Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." Chief Seattle, 1854
When I walk out into the darkness of a morning to give thanks for my day previous and for all to come this day I am always amazed at how I see something new even in the darkness. I was standing listening to the spring peepers chirping away in the small drainage ditch behind the house and watching a nearly full moon over to my right as I faced the southern skies. I am but a strand in this magnificent web of life. I went out this morning to sit and think and walk our dog I have a busy day today as I have a short report due on a student electronically and several other annual reports to finish. I started listening through the darkness as I do often I could hear my dog rustling as she does through the bushes trying to find the elusive chipmunks and whatever other great creatures she hunts in our back yard. In the distance maybe a car alarm broke the semi silence and was quickly silenced probably as I do often accidentally hitting the remote button in my pocket. The sky was nearly clear and stars and moon visible as far as you can see from midst the pines and oak trees. At that moment as I stood facing south I was alone the center of my world.
. It has been a few years since a National Geographic article used a superimposed image of goats hanging from spider webs on their cover. It seems that with genetic engineering they can produce in goat milk the proteins from spider webbing. Spider web silk is one of the strongest natural occurring fibers. The problem being there is not much of it. Perhaps this is what drew me to this statement from Chief Seattle. So often we go about life as the center of the universe and that all revolves around us. In medieval times this was the cause for much debate, man the center of all that is. I find it amazing that civilized people have a difficult time with this whereas primitive people see themselves as merely a cog in a great machine of life.
“This we know; the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected” Chief Seattle, 1854
There is much controversy as to actual words spoken by Chief Seattle. Some say the translation written by a friend was not truly what was said since recording devices were in their infancy and only transcribed translations are available. So be it we are left with the words as they are. It is said many were moved to tears as he spoke these words. So many times as I sit outside my room at school observing students and teachers pass by many view life from the center not as a part of all that is.
“That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. The end of living and the beginning of survival.” Chief Seattle, 1854
These lines are attributed to an early twentieth century historian, and ethnographic writer, A.C. Ballard supposedly added after many years. I was intrigued as different versions of Chief Seattle’s speech are to be found. One version is even suggested as being from Hollywood. I read the end of the speech which is the line above and perhaps Mr. Ballard did add these lines man years later but the last line interested me.
“The end of living and beginning of surviving” A.C. Ballard
How far have we come in civilization to go from living off the land to trying and surviving on it? Back in the day not that long ago a family could live and do well on a small farm raising what they needed. But soon things changed. I recall a scene from a recent movie, The Missing. The movie is about a farm family in the west raising horses and cattle. The oldest daughter goes to town to see all the new-fangled contraptions to make life easier, at a fair. Perhaps it is here we changed from living to surviving when we stopped making what we needed and started buying things to make life easier. Soon we needed things to do with the time freed up and leisure become a major part of our day.
It is interesting how we now need to make more income to enjoy our leisure and surviving becomes more than just food and clothing but being able to afford to have a good time as well. The film was about a clash between old and new in some ways. There was the under lying clash of change from living to survive and from freedom to dependency.
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Mother Teresa
It is hard to feel at times that what we do is of significance perhaps it is never noted in meetings or told from friends. But each step, each whisper, each smile is carefully noted down by someone and it is meaningful to that person as they go through life. How many thousands of times did Mother Theresa feel like that drop in the ocean as she held the hand of a leper in a back street of Calcutta? How much easier for us to live our lives as we do?
“Oneness is all inclusive. Nothing nor no one is exempt; that is the way it always has been; that is the way it is; and that is the way it always will be.” Chief Seattle
We are all connected, intertwined and each a piece of the web, a thread, a drop and all meaningful pieces to this great puzzle of life. Today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks.