Flying Into L.A.

Flying into LA today, I wanted to be happy to see California, and the southern mountains, and the big blue ocean. I wanted to smile thinking about good friends there, great times spent down amongst that sea of suburban homes and in nature just surrounding them.

But I couldn’t. Instead, I felt depressed. Depressed by the overbearing nature of man. Depressed looking out on the vast urban sprawl laid out over the land like the paradoxical red carpet. It’s all too square or rectangular. Too many right angles. Not enough curvature. A wholesale lack of spontaneous beauty.

Except on the coast itself, and in the mountains to the east. There, Nature holds on, strong. The mountains look down in laughter. Silly humans. The ocean laps at the shore, patiently painting its own picture. Caring less about the tractors daily manicuring its sandy canvas. For all the grandeur of the most architecturally unique building from the ground, as my flight rises over the city, it is all so easily dwarfed by the mountains and the clouds, the ocean, and the sky.

For many years, we have attempted to tame Nature. Every year a new layer of concrete or asphalt. Every hour more creatures captured and caged. Every minute more effort to control a force so uncontrollable.

But why tame a beast so beautiful in its wildness? Out of fear, no doubt. Fear bred from a lack of understanding. But what, truly, is there to be scared of? We think of life as linear. We examine “natural” trends along a finite timeline. Is time not infinite? Is Nature not cyclical? Are we not part of this cycle? Man does not walk through life on a timeline while the cycle of Nature spins around him, the unenlightened center of the universe. No, man’s existence is cyclical.

We talk about the “delicate balance of Nature.” But what if Nature is not so delicate as we believe? What if its hardiness exists to withstand the selfishness of man? What if it is capable of taking the punishment so that we might actually learn from our brutish behavior? I think it so. But I will not run around willy-nilly, exercising a lack of respect for Nature’s majesty and its mystery. Sure, Nature may be able to handle our ruthless selfishness. But, I venture, it will teach us much more if we approach it with profound respect and admiration.

We are now so removed. We must reconnect. No man is an island. No island cut off from the ocean. No tree separate from the entire forest. No forest devoid of its inhabitants. We must exercise more compassion towards our fellow Earth-dwellers. I spoke to Mother Nature today. She asked that we be nicer to one another.

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