I believe in Natural Beauty.
The majesty of the Great Wall though an impressive human achievement cannot match the magnificence of a snowy owl hitting a mouse crawling through a tunnel three inches under the snow, or a thousand plus pound cow moose and her two calves eating waterweeds from the edge of a pond. I have found that there is no music more touching that the call of a loon, none as serene as that of a brook slowly babbling over rocks. No soldiers show more self-assured confidence than a northern pike finning lazily at the surface of a lake, or an eagle in a tree. There is no mural more spectacular than the aspens and maples turning to yellow, red and brown during the fall, or as majestic as a rainbow reflected in the surface of a mirror smooth lake.
We have lost so much in our pursuit of material wealth that we have lost sight of the riches that graced our country before the Pilgrims came. We truly are America the Beautiful but much of that beauty has been eradicated to make room for those who do not care. We hunted the buffalo to near extinction and wiped out the big plains wolves that fed on them. The Everglades are but a fraction of their former glory and the alligators that are their kings and queens are constantly in danger of extinction. There was a time, (more recently than many like to remember), when nearly every species on our continent was getting close to extinction. Some bounced back. Regrettably, some will never get the chance. All these creatures have been sacrificed for the greed of men.
What I wonder would happen if such people spent a week on my old stomping grounds, up in Cook county Minnesota or in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, places of great natural (some would say feral) beauty that no man can hope to own or tame. Would they have a change of heart? Or would they merely see dollar signs slipping away due to all the un-loggable timber? I have to believe that they would be affected at least a little bit for few in the US are aware that we have wilderness just as wild and feral in the lower 48 as those of Canada and Alaska. Such revelations though obvious to those who have experienced them can have an astounding effect on the unaware.
I have been all over the world. And in my travels I have seen many wondrous things. I have walked the Great Wall, entered the Taj Mahal, and have seen the Soldiers of Xian. I have seen many things that are considered to be examples of the pinnacle of Human Development. However I believe that nothing we have yet done, however great, can hope to match the simple perfection of a swimming shark, or its raw unadulterated power, the majesty of 300 foot tall trees, or the (comparatively) gigantic structures made by ants and termites.
This I Believe, that until we can see the beauty that is naturally in every place, be it rainforest or desert, tropic or arctic, common or rare, we are doomed to destroy ourselves through lack of respect for how Earth’s ecosystems work.
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