Monday, December 8, 2008

What we long for

Following is a beautiful description of nature in Paul Hawkin's book Blessed Unrest. It describes Kitlope, upriver east of Kitimat in British Columbia:

“I felt as though I had been thrust into a painting by the Hudson River School, a preternatural, romantic dreamscape ... But here it was, the real thing, glaciers, rainbows, and all. The five species of Pacific salmon ... underfoot were fodder for the grizzlies and black bears denning in the old-growth spruce and cedar forests. In the glacier-fed waters, river otters peered curiously. wolf packs roamed at night, mountain goats capered on alpine croppings, blubbery seals feasted on easy pickings a hundred miles from the sea, and eagles nested in evenly spaced sequences along every spawning tributary.”
p. 41.

What I love about this passage is the way it shows the abundance in God's creation. This scene describes plenty, and paints a picture of how God meant this world to be. It raised in me a longing to see Kitlope. It made me feel sad over what we've done to our world. It reminded me that the world of scarcity we seem to live in is not the only reality and different from God's plan for us or for the rest of the animals and plants in creation. I couldn't help but contrast it to Hawkin's (and other's) depictions of polluted slums in Third World cities, where the water is toxic and most of the plant and animal life has been killed.

But what I most want to hang on to is an outlook that hopes for all things, that doesn't settle for the fallen world around us as the way things have to be. I can imagine a time in the not too distant future, perhaps my grandchildren's generation, when something as basic as having free or nearly-free water will seem like a dream. A few generations beyond that, a world of free, abundant water might seem like a "fairy story" that idealists had made up. Or in a society of increasing single parenthood, two-parent families as the norm might become scoffed at as impossible. Yet I grew up during a time when (albeit imperfectly) it was quite common. So I want to remember that the simple things we long for are not fantasies but possibilities and part what God has promised we can have in this world.

1 comment:

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, we need to get back to what God has mandated for humanity in Genesis. That we are stewards of God's good earth, and of creation.

I'm glad to see any and all work to that end, and we as Christians should be in that mix, and vocally supportive of it, as you are here.