Tuesday, September 14, 2010


If I knew I should die tomorrow,
I would plant a tree today.
~Stephen Girard

Photo: A H Palma

There are no things in nature. Things are the lifeless labels we attempt to attach to elusive events. We seek shelter from hurricanes as they occur and become experts at talking about the remnants of its event, the things we can pick up, name and pass judgment upon long after the event is being hidden from elsewhere. To the western civilized, educated mind nature no longer exists; trees aren’t beings, they’re things called trees, just sitting there; can make things out of ‘em, can burn ‘em.

Most of the very natural processes the human body experiences during a lifetime occur without the awareness, therefore without willful control, of the educated mind. Hunger and nausea, those bodily messages strong enough to get through the distractions of things being pursued in the artificial world to let its driven driver know the tank is either empty or overfilled with bad fuel.

Nature is one continuous, omnidirectional, purposeless chain reaction occurring to every scale of individual cell throughout the universe. Man has made of the endless event a thing labeled life, which he believes his god granted to those things that move without his pushing on them.

Lest I be suspected of picking on western civilization in respect to the marketplace thingathon attitude with which it treats the earth, histories older than any western medicine speak of the east considering health a matter of deep understanding of these bodily process through self contemplation; surgery and doctor’s fees were forbidden.

A Google earth scan of the island of Bali revealed that wherever the volcanic terrain was level enough there were tiered rice paddies and villages, right down to the shores of the island, along narrow ridges and in the craters. I knew this of eastern civilization’s respect for integrating their lives into the natural landscape symbiotically and of the age of the tradition judging from the complete coverage of the landscapes including pagoda temples on the peaks of the most precarious promontories. What I just recently grokked was how long the Balinese have been aware of the benefit of forests when, scanning the mountainsides too steep for paddies, I noticed the patterns in some of the most mature forests indicating that these rice farmers have been replanting their lumber supply for centuries. How enlightened these “primitive” people are.

If Bali is considered a third world, nature must be cooking up some sort of layer inversion to turn things back into events for everyone.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The next best time is now.
~ Chinese Proverb


Brian Miller said...

perhaps if we were more primitive we would be more enlightened...

Pisces Iscariot said...

Trees: one of my favourite things - refer to this piece of wood

Old 333 said...

Wow, great picture. I bet that tree-snake-monster temple-eater-thing is more than twenty.