I'm getting tan. I know the birds around here- the Wren Tit, the Red-Winged Black Bird, Quail, Robins, Swanson's Thrush, Hawks, Owls, and the tiny Wax Wings all the way from the Amazon. My fingers are getting tough, too. No more bleeding from my share of planting 4,000 seedlings in the field. Hearing the coyotes at 3:30 am opens my ears to another realm. The 3 mile run up and down these rocky hills is not so hard, either.
I love this place best- this gulch, this coast, these trees, this temple.
Before us, natives lived here. They used to find arrow heads in the field. They're gone now, of course.
And it's hotter this summer than usual. 80 degrees in the sun.
And I've never seen a mountain lion here.
And just one whale out in the sea in my 5 years of visiting here.
And we've experienced water draw down. Our well is not deep enough anymore. The spring runs turbid, due to the mud it picks up on its flow here, due to dirt that is exposed from deforested mountain sides.
We fight soil loss by composting and amending with minerals and peat moss and feather meal, all extracted amendments brought to us by petroleum.
So how do I know that civilization is not redeemable?
Derrick Jensen urges us to look around:
"Ninety percent of large fish in the oceans are gone. Salmon are collapsing. Passenger pigeons are gone. Eskimo curlews are gone. Ninety-eight percent of native forests gone, 99 percent of wetlands, 99 percent of native grasslands. What standards do you need?"
I sit in this temple and study dharma and work the land. Please don't let me forget the other truth. This is a dying planet. What does taking care of it look like? How does saving all being apply? How do we go forth, perceive old age, sickness and death, perceive no old age, sickness and death, and still take Bodhisattva action to fulfill our vow?
Is living a lifestyle that does not kill the planet the same as not letting the planet die like this?