On this Easter morning, I sit at the edge of my garden, still a bit chilly, but in bright sun filtering through the shrubbery. The birds busily feed in pairs preparing for the soon arduous task of caring for their brood of chicks. I note the return of the banded robins, and see that the winter residents are busy establishing their nest sites too. I saw a rufous towhee scratching around noisily in the leaf litter yesterday. He will not stay, but continue into a more forested area for the summer.I note the swelling buds of trees and bushes, and watch expectantly for the leaves and flowers that soon will enclose my garden from view.
The marvel of the bounty of Nature never ceases to amaze me. I worry about the changes in the patterns of distribution of water, and the alterations in the ecosystems that come with such a fundamental shift. In this temperate climate, sheltered by mountains and buffered by rivers at the edge of the great Mississippi drainage, lies some of the most fertile land in the world. Yet, we sit at the nexus of a crisis, with sewage and storm water management compromising our water supply for drinking, and fossil gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing threatening farm land all across this rich area.
On this bright Spring morning, it seems so obvious that we must study the ways of the natural systems whose abundance and stability surround us. Our life support system of the Earth provides oxygen rich air, fresh water and fertile ground sustained by the co-evolved myriad of living things that form the web of life. We need to understand our place as one part of this delicate, complex, but strong and resilient system. Our hubris in believing we are the dominant species on earth and therefore the most wise and in charge will be our doom.
On this Easter day, more than most other days, when so many people flock to places of worship to One who is believed to have created the universe, I seek the Cathedral of the Trees, and the ministry of the songbirds. In humility and with great awe, I contemplate the wisdom of ages embodied in the minute workings of the web of life as it thrums through me and around me in this quiet garden.
The laws of Nature are not negotiable. Our place is to understand how to thrive within them, not to suppress them.