I’m lucky enough to live on a lake, in the middle of the boreal forest in the Canadian Shield. My bedroom window looks out onto a forested slope that ends in the water. When I woke up at 5:30 this morning our bedroom was bathed in pink. I got up and looked out the window, and the sky, forest, and lake were also glowing a brilliant rose from the rising sun. Five minutes later, the glow had faded to a light orange and in ten minutes everything was back to “normal”. But those five minutes were awe-inspiring.
Because of what humans have been doing to our environment, we are poised on the precipice of ecological disaster. Climate change and ocean acidification are two of the most pressing examples of reaping what we’ve sowed. These words, attributed to Chief Seattle of the Duwamish Tribe, ring especially true today:
“This we know. The earth does not belong to humans, but humans belong to the earth.
This, also we know – humanity does not spin this web of life. We are merely a strand in it. It is like the lifeblood that ties us all together. And, whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”
If we are to successfully rise to the challenges that face us, it will be the energy of love that will power our transformation. Love for our children and grandchildren, and for the creatures with which we share this world. Love for the amazing world we find ourselves in, our planetary home; that “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam“, as Carl Sagan described earth. And the love and awe that I felt today, looking out at the beauty of the sunrise in the boreal forest.
“Understanding is another name for love; love is another name for understanding.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh