For the past several years weâ€™ve spent much time walking around the beautiful lake where we live. PersonaliTrees is one result of the awareness weâ€™ve gained by connecting with our surroundings. The feeling we have is that we not only live here, we ARE here. Having become acutely aware of natureâ€™s spiritual realm and its underlying intelligence, we were invited to become a part of it and accepted the invitation with all of its attendant responsibilities.
One of those responsibilities is to leave it as healthy and beautiful as when we entered. If possible, we should leave it better. The most obvious way to do that is to remove all of the unsightly and unwanted trash that humans leave behind. Each day we collect a combination of plastic water bottles, aluminum drink cans, candy wrappers, glass bottles, styrofoam containers and the various packaging left on the bank and in the water by people whoâ€™ve been fishing, boating or hiking. We canâ€™t keep up but we try, and thankfully so do others who live here.
I used to get angry at those who didnâ€™t have the respect of nature or courtesy for others to take away the products they brought with them after turning them into trash. It is, I thought, as if they never intended to return. Surely they would not leave such a mess if they were intent on coming back. It would be like throwing oneâ€™s garbage into the corner of oneâ€™s living room or the floorboard of oneâ€™s car.
And so it is. Thatâ€™s when the light came on and I forgot my anger.
What one does is what one is. To respect our natural surroundings is to respect ourselves. We learn that truth only by living it. You cannot do what you do not know. Once enlightened, you cannot go back and behave as before. It is a fortunate circumstance to have become aware of, and to have earned, that respect.
We cannot police our way to respect for the environment. It is just not possible to enforce common courtesy when the fountain that emits such spiritual intelligence is not turned on. But we can bring forth ideas that turn on the fountain, refresh the mind and foster the understanding that comes when one sees his reflection in the pool of his actions. Â
It is heartening that to hear that a half million people attended an event on the mall in Washington D.C., last weekend and, according to the Wall Street Journal, left not a scrap of trash behind. Perhaps we are on the brink of a new consciousness, one that will extend all the way into our human activities in the wilderness.