The sun had already risen, amid a splash of gold, and the wheezing garbage truck had completed its neighborhood rounds when Koko and I left the house this morning and headed for the mountain trail.
It didn’t take long before we left all human sounds behind, which always leaves me with a feeling of “ahhh” and a wondering of how it must have been to live in a world where the background “noise” was gurgling streams, rain drops on leaves, wind gusts, bird song.
The ohia trees were in robust bloom, thickly adorned with ruby red lehua (although a few had salmon-colored blossoms) that livened up a landscape of many shades of green. It always makes me happy to see ohia lehua, especially holding its own against trash trees like African tulip and albezzia and other alien interlopers.
But despite the abundance of blossoms, nary a honeycreeper was to be seen. Most likely they long ago succumbed to avian malaria, an introduced scourge carried by another introduced scourge: mosquitoes.
The Star-Bulletin yesterday had an article on the critical necessity of controlling mosquitoes in order to protect native bird species, some of them gravely endangered. It seems that global warming will increase the threat by raising temperatures in the higher elevations where mosquitoes now cannot live, and so the honeycreepers do.
This is something I’ve been aware of for a long time, although the implications of global warming add an ominous new twist. But what really troubled me were the comments. Many showed a deep ignorance — even disdain — of the natural world, which I suppose is not surprising, considering their lives are so separate from it.
It’s only been a few short decades, half a century or so, that large numbers of people have been so totally divorced from the natural world. They can’t identify any plants, birds or stars, they don’t know how to grow anything or otherwise obtain food, they can’t spend fifteen minutes outside without issuing a complaint or seeking a distraction. Their senses have been diminished and dulled; they feel no connection to the whole.
How interesting that during this time of growing disconnectedness, which represents just a blip in human existence, we’ve developed numerous toxic substances that we unceasingly pump into the soil, air and water; perfected our ability to ravage the land for the purposes of exploitation; eliminated countless species and pushed others to the brink; figured out how to tinker with the genetic blueprint; gorged on energy and resources; produced weapons that could destroy life as we know it.
Meanwhile, we delude ourselves that we’re better connected than ever, with our Twitterings and bloggings and textings and Myspacings. In fact, we’ve essentially lost our connection to the only thing that really matters: the life force. And I don’t care how many “Nature” programs you watch, that isn’t something that can be transmitted via TV.
My deepest musings are devoted to wondering how we’re going to renew that connection because it’s the key, the one thing that can motivate people to make the profound shift in consciousness that’s required to reverse this inexorable decline. Without it, our solutions are band-aids, our discussions are empty rhetoric.