Archive for March, 2012

Hiking on a cliff by the Pacific Ocean recently, I saw Earth: sea, sky, land, shore, sand, people gazing out looking for whales, sighting birds, braced against a stiff breeze. We are Earthlings, and would call ourselves so if we knew there were other planets in the universe with people as us. Unfortunately most of us think we are the only people in the universe and so have divided ourselves into countries, some of which are hostile to others. If we knew there were other inhabited planets, we would see ourselves more as Earthlings than from particular countries. We would spend our time not opposing or competing against other countries but on concentrating on Earth itself, taking pride in our home planet and making it a place of sanctuary and peace. We would be conscious that another people from another planet could visit us, possibly attacking, yes, but more likely exploring to see what we were about. If they attacked we would want to present a united front, with a united front of weaponry, to oppose them. And if they were explorers, we would also want a united contingent to meet them, communicate, share, and get to know them. We would hope to befriend them. We would hope to have a true United Nations. In fact that would be the name of our united planet: The United Nations of Earth or UNE. The League of Nations was a start. The United Nations followed. The United Nations of Earth could be the next level of unity and cooperation.

The key to forming UNE comes out of a news story just a few days ago about exoplanets, or planets that circle around their own star. Hundreds have been discovered, creating the possibility of life on those planets, if conditions were as ideal as here on Earth. As President Kennedy initiated putting a man on the moon within a decade, we could resolve to find other Earth-like planets, and establish communications within a decade. Scientists from relevant disciplines could work cooperatively, and focus their energy and resources to this crucial goal to establish contact with people in the universe. Since most Earthlings think we are the only planet with life as we know it, our attitudes, values, and perspectives are shaped by this superior assumption, a kind of anthropomorphic equivalent to our relationship with other planets. In other words, we possess the only life in the entire universe. Since there is no one else to be “better than,” and as human beings, we seemingly must be better than someone, we have divided and categorized ourselves into being better than others here on Earth, hence we’ve resorted to conflict, war, religious persecution, racism, sexism, ethnic cleansing, holocausts, even attacked our planet itself through environmental degradation and anthropomorphism. It’s my way or the highway. Nothing has succeeded in deterring us from this tendency to shove our ideas down the other  (more…)


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No wonder I retreat to the solitude of nature as often as I do. There, in the weeds, in the swamplands, is what is real. There, is a poem that moves with each moment, that has nothing to say, nothing to rhyme, completely out of time. It is where I go to commune with myself, and with all connected beyond myself, like the bittern I saw today grubbing in the reeds, camouflaged by its own color against that of the swamp and defying detection. Nothing that came from the bird was not true. Nothing that was not true came from the bird. I sat there, camera in hand, closing the gap between seer and seen, until we came face to face hidden in each other’s soul. Where do I go from here? I am at the end of the fence where the universe ends, at the end of words, at the end of time, at the end of fear, where it all starts over again. It is where a new language begins to talk out of the still, deep, dark silence. It is where love arises, one more time, again just an impulse, a feeling, before a label takes hold and compound flashes stop the action of no action.

The bittern inches forward, pecking through the swamp water, picking at bits of food, forming the base of the new language. I watch it move closer as I snap the shutter. My mind is quiet. I have lost track of time. People pass on the trail behind me, talking in an ancient tongue that is only spoken by those who have forgotten how to listen, responding even before the words they meet spill out–that distorted language from flapping lips that roam aimlessly, without direction or meaning. No one knows what anyone else is saying. It’s sad. It’s goddamn (more…)

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