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A Secret Door
Words by Raymond Greiner
Image by Gretchen Gales
*Editor's Note: Originally published at The Literary Yard.
Natural wonders stir awe in a display of harmonious balance in contrast to modern human civil composition. Ancient humanity was firmly attached to natural terrestrial arrangements in opposition to present day communal drift, as negative influences are profusely imposed in every conceivable manner.
Fiscal and material wealth occupies a godlike status, and contributes to moral erosion. Political systems have become plagued with corruption from top to bottom outlining a contentious future.
So, how do we unravel this dysfunctional ball of haywire? Is it even possible to redirect such a pandemic of social ills? Hate, anger and war mentality have expanded with boundless penetration and alteration seems daunting. Religious faith choice, racial and ethnic clashes have worsened. What prophecy can be ascribed from this base condition?
Sages and religious founders offer guidelines to discover harmony within our species emphasizing necessity for peaceful coexistence and to allow love to transcend hate. Within this quagmire of social impairments are positive examples, as Mother Teresa emulators are in the mix and these saviors can be replicated toward social betterment. The scowling fist shakers likely will remain but, their suggested path is a disastrous route to nowhere.
As global populations continue to expand fixed in crowded vast urban zones problems magnify, this anthill environment forms limited perception imposing social control by design. The indoctrination is subtly slow embedding itself, as obvious negatives form banality. Modern society is consumed within its own consumption, as “things” dominate thoughts and gadget installation accelerates.
I presently live attached directly to nature and its magnificence surrounds me throughout each day. I spent forty years living and working in an urban environment choosing money as my God. I put full energy to gain prominence within what society perceives as success based upon monetary status as the primary goal. I was certain I was on a good track in life. Doors to my perceived success opened one by one and these doors revealed similar content as previous doors. Deception, entrapments and misconceptions of various forms lurked behind each new doorway misconceived as opportunity.
Presently, each morning I awaken to sounds of my natural surroundings. The caw of a distant crow, or the rattle of a woodpecker seeking its morning meal breaks the silence. There is honesty found in nature not present within human influenced interactivity. Non-human species function within a more balanced design. Predators kill for survival not from hate induced convoluted psychological mechanisms.
Beginning around age twelve reading imprinted with me and has remained, and from this evolved desire to express. I often read writings attached to the natural world and its ubiquitous wonders and became intently enthralled offering relief from modern civilizations stew of disarray. This realization caused transformation within my heart and soul-forming enlightenment not found among human created living styles.
My favorite nature writer is Annie Dillard, and when I read her passages I feel a chill as she describes her many experiences while immersed in natural surroundings. I recently read her book Teaching A Stone To Talk, but her Pulitzer Prize winning anthology of nature themed essays Pilgrim At Tinker Creek inspired me more than anything I have previously read. She wrote this masterpiece as a young woman living alone in a small, remote cabin on Tinker Creek. Dillard’s intensity as a writer and person is laid out clearly in the content of this book.
Annie wrote, “The mockingbird took a single step and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings, with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant tail and floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his insouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is be there.”
During this phase of life four hours of each day delivers a particular sense of tranquility. Two early morning hours are devoted to my writing habit. One hour walking the trail surrounding my property with my dog Venus. One hour sitting at the pond observing the abundant life that lives there and often reading. During salad days I would never have imagined gaining bliss in such a fashion of time. It’s as if I have discovered a secret door.