Friday, October 7, 2011

Hope, resilience, sustainablity

Written at the Black Earth Institute Annual Meeting.

I can still recall the particular geometry the body needed to adopt to climb the trees in the neighborhood where I grew up.  Those trees where one could be a simple straight line and inch along a tree bole set at an acute angle to the ground, those trees where one needed to make of one legs a geometer's divider to reach from branch to branch.  I recall those which could only be climbed by swiveling around the trunk, winding up the tree like a little human orange rind being sloughed off the fruit.  I recall too the mounting terror as I got higher and higher.  I was no John Muir atop a Douglas spruce in a Sierras' storm - I was a frightened boy who would get stuck precisely half way up a tree afraid to go further.  Afraid to go down.  And so I would stay aloft for longer than was sane, waiting for the fear to pass, waiting for that trust and hope that propelled me up the tree to return to guide me back down.

Boy, and tree, and wind, and sky; fear and trust and hope, are all world.  A tree is not theory to the climber. The limbs of tree and boy's limbs are world inseparable.  But the fear and trust and hope are also world - moods that are perhaps distinctively human; but because boy and tree are world the boys fear and hope and trust are also world.  I am fearful of world but I must accept that; I trust what it is to be human and accept that; I am hopeful and accept that.  I will climb up; I will pause in the mood of the world; and when I must I will climb down.

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