Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Myth of Civilization

Yesterday Georgiana and I hiked up Rock Canyon in Provo, Utah instead of going to church. We sat by a small river of melting snow giving way to gravity and ate sandwiches and read out loud from holy books. We prayed, and laughed, talked, and projected scenarios into the future. We walked holding sweaty hands, and snapped silly pictures of each other.

The trees were alive with green leaves, wildflowers were flaunting their spring flowers, bees, flies and wasps buzzed hurriedly from plant to plant, and caterpillars wove silken cocoons from whence they would soon emerge as colorful butterflies. A rattle snake shook his tail at us in defiance of our species, and refused to budge from his sunny spot on the trail.
As we walked, we contemplated what these hills had seen, what they looked like before civilization's heavy hand had brushed through them. We speculated on the why and how of a dried river bed full of chalky boulders. We lay lifeless, practically vertical ,in a grove of gnarled pine trees on a steep slope, near the ruins of a makeshift shelter, probably built by a zealous boyscout.

We were not alone, many others had a similar idea that Sunday afternoon, to escape the turmoil of urban life. But, let us not forget that nature is not but a pretty painting that we can stop and take in whenever we tire of our banal surroundings, it is the very life that pumps through our veins, and the very air we breathe. It does not hang on a wall, separate from bodies. It is in our bodies, it is who we are. The myth of civilization is that we are separate, and that nature needs us, and not the other way around.

2 comments:

sara said...

beautiful.

Amy said...

a bit of truth.