Friday, January 20, 2012
I drove to Pt. Arena this morning for work and I was looking forward to gazing upon the redwood groves along the Navarro River through my car window. It's been a month since I've been this way, and I was curious what I'd see this time around. Before reaching the groves, I started to think how these particular redwoods have not really left much of an impression on me in the past. While wondering why this was the case, the thought popped in my mind that maybe the reason was that they had been logged, although I was not certain. In previous posts, I mentioned how the eye and mind play tricks on you. Every time I've walked in these groves, I had been looking for mushrooms, so there was a good chance that I just didn't see anything else. As I approached redwood habitat in my vehicle this morning, I couldn't help but notice how perfect this area is for redwoods. Plenty of flat terrain, damp, rainy climate. The Navarro River running alongside, plenty of water for the trees. There must be giants growing here!
It didn't take long before the stumps began appearing on both sides of the road. Stump after stump flying past my windows, growing underneath smaller, thinner redwoods. "Aha!" I yelled to no one. The old growth, larger trees have all been removed! No wonder the forest did not leave an impression. It had lost it's "Wow!" factor.
I believe humankind has been experiencing, and still experiences a mental illness that I will label "conquerism." Like other diseases such as alcoholism or diabetes, if left unchecked, has disastrous consequences. Like other addictions, those of us who suffer from "conquerism" will deny that there is any sort of problem. The behavior continues day after day, week after week, year after year, until an intervention occurs, or the person admits to having a problem. Conquerism has afflicted the American mind, and continues to wreak havoc manifesting itself in the destruction of our environment, on ecosystems all across our country.
I heard "This Land is Your Land" on the radio today. "From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters, this land is made for you and me." My God, we've almost destroyed the redwood forest the last few decades and seriously polluted the gulf stream water last year! Oh the humanity!
After walking through the logged grove, I thought of Joni Mitchell's lyric, "We paved paradise, put up a parking lot," Or the Eagle's verse, "Call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye."
Due to our mental illness "conquerism," we have approached the extraordinary and reduced it to the ordinary. A logged redwood forest is nice, but it's rather ordinary. It's like watching an amateur sporting event. Or looking at an unfinished painting. Or listening to an ordinary musician. An old growth forest is like watching the Super Bowl. It's like looking at the Mona Lisa, or listening to Beethoven. It is the ultimate expression of God's love on earth.
My name is Mark, and I'm a "conquerist."