For 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth, we were hunters and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world. Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine.
Tonight I discovered nature. For the first time, I saw it. For the first time, I didn’t look at it; I listened to it — not with my ears, although I did that too, but with my eyes. Instead of pushing out at it, trying to understand it, I let it speak to me. On my left, some distance away, was the highway. From there I could hear man — man always arriving, never quite there. Then I looked at the stars. They were silent, and powerful beyond all effort. They were stars being stars and therefore brilliantly alive. How puny are words about stars.
We have one foot in genesis and the other in apocalypse, and annihilation is always one immediate option.
My impression is that the Doomsday models divert attention from remedial public policy by permitting everyone to blame “the predicament of mankind.” Who could pay attention to a humdrum affair like legislation to tax sulfur emissions when the date of the Apocalypse has just been announced by a computer?
Due to the lack of experienced trumpeters, the End of the World has been postponed for three weeks!
No man has learned anything rightly until he knows that every day is Doomsday.
The destructive forces of nature were like a reservoir, dammed up by a thin, unsteady wall, which at any moment might burst, and sweep away the pretentious [humans] who had dared to maintain that man was the measure of all things.
Don’t you find it a beautiful clean thought, a world empty of people, just uninterrupted grass, and a hare sitting up?
There are no accidents, only nature throwing her weight around. Even the bomb merely releases energy that nature has put there. Nuclear war would be just a spark in the grandeur of space. Nor can radiation “alter” nature: she will absorb it all. After the bomb, nature will pick up the cards we have spilled, shuffle them, and begin her game again.
In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn’t have cars and airplanes and computers and vaccines. . . . It was a whole different world. But to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We have been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we are gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.
Somehow the world never manages to end before your homework is due. Also, if the world’s about to end, why aren’t things more interesting? Why are people abandoning themselves to cares and gripes instead of to booze-ups and orgies?
Life must go on; I forget just why.
We can do it, you know. We can get there. We can have it all. The Third Millennium AD can be the green millennium, the time in which we learn to live as responsible human beings at last. There is no law, natural or divine, which demands that the world we live in become poorer, harsher, and more dangerous. If it continues to become that way, it is only because we do it ourselves.
If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.
Nature is what wins in the end.