Monday after Mothers’ Day. The children return to school after a well-behaved 24-hour stint for mom. As I look out of my window, the sun bathes the rooftops while the trees hang heavy with flowers with a backdrop of dark green grass. The dreadful winter has passed. Alleluia! Wouldn’t life be grand if that was all that concerned us? Perhaps it should be all that concerns us- family and friends, nature and bathing in precious memories of Mothers’ Days gone by.
Those elderly suffering from dementia and early-onset Alzheimer’s are strangely satisfied with just this, perhaps without the memory component. Yet we- those still with our wits, so to speak- will spend much of this day involved in worry and anxiety, unmindful of the glory of Nature. We will enter the ‘real world’ and find it obscene. Those driving to work this morning will hear a cacophony of noise that will drown the songs of the birds calling for mates. Along the roads they will encounter man-made blight that masks the flowering shrubs. The car and truck exhausts cloak the sweet scents which attract the bees.
Their workplace will be a plasticized, unnatural synthesis of right angles and regular polygonal shapes- cold and hard to the touch. Many will be surrounded by zombie-like fellow workers whose greatest goal is to endure until the end of their shift. Some may wonder throughout the day, ‘What am I doing here?’ Others will be elsewhere in their minds, reviewing their recent experiences, reliving the angry encounters of the morning, anxious about their return home that evening.
The natural world outside waits patiently for their return, but many will overlook it all as they close the garage door behind them and return to the angular, cold shapes inside the house.
Are we Americans slowly loosing touch with the real world around us? Are we becoming isolates, moving from enclosure to enclosure without experiencing the natural world around us? Is this slowly poisoning our group psyche? Perhaps it is fitting retribution for our scandalous, blood-stained history of the decimation the Native Americans whose land we stole. Or for enslaving hundreds of thousands of Africans to spill their sweat and tears onto this purloined property. Or for the plundering of the land for greedy exploitation.
Ours may be the first society that has dishonored the natural world so thoroughly that we reap the consequences of that egregious disdain of the natural world. Perhaps it is exhibited daily in our common, low-level psychological malaise that hangs like a thick fog over the low-lying morass- the innate feeling that something is not right with our world.