I do not think that I have ever experienced a fall in which so many of the trees, shrubs, forbs, and grasses have looked more luminous. The slow draining away of chlorophyll in the area where I live has revealed the most vivid temporary tissues in what seems like a wider spectrum than my declining eyesight has ever been capable of seeing.
In my semi-retirement, the wealth of this display has had me regularly stopping and thinking that, “This moment, this moment, THIS moment… must have my full attention, Now!” I am humbled and feel as if I do not deserve this visual statement – this voice of vivid colors which says, “Here is my truth. I am the voice of light, water, and minerals. I must pass away so that you may see me again.” Could the stories of Jesus and other supposed miraculous resurrections simply be paltry, foolish human attempts at claiming we are in possession of the power of natural procedures which move across our desperately created borders as if to show us that those borders are as insignificant as to be nonexistent? It seems that the delusions of humans insist upon believing in the phoniness of national borders even as we violate those fake borders while chasing the illusions of monetary security and while the natural processes of seasonal changes and migrations of birds and other animals are chronically treated as if they are of less significance. Every year this departure and the return contrapuntally moves across the planet’s bi-polar dance-floor as breaths of truth over the multitude of delusions we continue to envision as security states.
My undeniable joy in every fall is tempered by my desire to have everybody stop what they are doing and pay respect to these organisms whose integrity seems beyond our limited comprehension and by the knowledge that my moment is just that – my moment. I know that others feel joy at these displays, but it is not my place to try to force anyone to stop what they are doing just because I think these trees, shrubs, forbs, and grasses are a most vital part of our possible salvation from our vain selves and that there is no church or economic dogma made by humans which can come remotely close to speaking with such as voice.
My maudlin inclination then begins infusing, tempting the flow of tears and all of my being feels a desire to say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” This then becomes a fading echo as the mundane requirements of my existence begin to seep into my consciousness and my physical movements.
Here is an example of our prioritizing vain self-deception over the need to recognize the primacy of the natural producers of oxygen and their incomparable carbon sequestration. I have had, throughout most of my life, a very natural ability to recognize/identify various species of trees. About a year ago, I was driving past a local campus when I suddenly felt strangely disturbed by the vision of a tree which towered over all the other trees in its vicinity. I had never before seen such a thing and not only could I not identify it, but I quickly realized it had not been there before. As I approached I realized that this tree was a manufactured covering over a cell phone tower. In researching, I found that these artificial tower covers are known as “monopines” because they disguise monopole cell phone towers and that the company which placed the tower on the campus had to disguise it (as apparently many communities do now) so that the appearance of the campus would not be too blatantly marred by another display of crudely vain human self-absorption. This towering fake christmas tree was planted there through a process which involves considerable release of carbon and it is there to help produce a greater release of carbon through the enabling of more human enterprises. It is very unlikely that its dangerously typical carbonic liberations will be significantly counterbalanced by a greater connection to the oxygenating natural world beyond the self-serving of its users.
This is probably as “american” as it gets. Very few people likely realize that when the European invasion of the Amerigo Vespuccis began into what they have foolishly named “the americas,” the vast majority of the region east of the Mississippi River was an enormously sprawling, towering woodland which produced an astounding (and probably unknowable) amount of oxygen and carbon sequestration for the planet and for the creatures which depend upon oxygen. Beyond that largely unseen reality lies the fact that millions of years of naturally produced compressed sequestration of carbon is also commonly ignored in the burning desires of our species. We have made termitically short work of eliminating one of our greatest natural benefactors in these brief years since the arrival of our arrogantly desperate Columbusian egregiousness. Plants are now commonly treated as something like furniture and the phoniness of a cell phone tower disguise is an expression of a lust for the commodification of nature into monetary gain and the almost ubiquitous, often willful ignorance upon which it depends and thrives. Unlike termites however, our reliance upon flying off to colonize somewhere else is causing us to devour ourselves as much as anything else.
I rake huge piles of the arboreal glory for mulching and compost – with the knowledge that this will be the best thing for me to do because the ensuing decomposition is the grounding basis for these most stalwart of my friends and the unmeasurable diversity of those of us beings who are their dependent beneficiaries. Most of my neighbors want to be rid of the fallen leaves from the trees and shrubs and they put them out to be removed or they burn them.
Beyond all of my many embarrassments, foibles, and regrets, are the wishes that I had planted more and that I had weeded less. All human possibilities and bondages would be less than vapors within an unknown delusion were it not for these organisms which produce chlorophyllic transformation and with whom we and all other creatures who depend upon oxygen share this planet. Our failure to recognize both our subservience and our need to embrace and celebrate our subservient position is a major part of our deficiency and our continuing descent.
To me, the plants and their falling leaves will always deserve more respect and our wellbeing is critically dependent upon our recognition of this. This is one of the most central aspects of my thanks-giving.