The bonds of love belong to the earth, said the sage.

Where were you when …? We remember those exact moments when love takes hold of us. And how wondrous a thing it is that it can last and last – and get stronger as time moves ahead. We contemplate a far-off hurricane forming and growing stronger and we worry about where it will go next; we think about the innumerable homes destroyed by a recent storm; we see the resulting avalanche of charitable giving and volunteering that made us catch our breath as people rushed into the vacuum to save strangers who were nothing more (nor less) than kin of kind, brothers and sisters of species, but not known to them. And we feel it. We feel the bond of love that grips us all in the loving hold of humanity and will not let us go. We are its beloved, its offspring, its beneficiaries. We carry the flag emblazoned with love’s family crest, if only for the brief awareness in our life moment here. The bond of love belongs not to us individually, but to the Species of Life itself.

In that way, the bond of love is a compass heading. We can follow it and it will always be there. Like the compass heading, love is a feature of the Earth, of the living beings that inhabit her. It would make no sense at all to utter an absurdity like I’m heading west, so west belongs to me. No, west is an irrefutable fact, an aspect of navigational certainty that belongs to no one. If the brewing storm heads to the west, it does not mean that that the storm owns it. The same is true of our stewardship of love, hope, joy, happiness. All of these are particularly human gifts that we have the privilege of accessing. Imagine a wandering traveler: A cool, clear mountain stream of fresh water on a hot afternoon, and the traveler approaches it. Looking down into its waters, he makes the conscious decision not to drink from it.

The traveler is denying his instincts. Why would he choose not to drink from the stream? Perhaps he is afraid of bacteria or some other form of contamination. Perhaps the idea of drinking of water off the ground – rather than from a plastic bottle? – is somehow off-putting to him. He passes the stream and continues to walk. Now imagine the exquisite timing of the falling snow and its melting in the spring, the geographic perfection of the mountain slope formed over eons, the changing of the seasons such that those very water molecules passed by as liquid at the very instant the traveler was there – if they were alive, those molecules would have seen him standing there contemplating whether to drink them or not. They invite him to drink of them. What a colossal ballet of coincidence and elegance playing out before his narrowed eyes. What a perfect opportunity of nature, and perfectly squandered.

Do we do the same with our own happiness? Do we pass on immersing ourselves in love, hope, and joy because our fear of the risks? These wonders, these inspiring flashes of humanity are available to us, and it is our birthright and our responsibility to ourselves to dip into their streams and drink our fill of their clear water. They do not belong to us, just as the water in the mountain stream does not. But they are there and we are there; it is our time here now on the planet. We should expect no better invitation to love, hope, joy and happiness.

February 18, 2018
love-is-west

Love is West

The bonds of love belong to the earth, said the sage. Where were you when …? We remember those exact moments when love takes hold of us. And how wondrous a thing it is that it can last and last – and get stronger as time moves ahead. We contemplate a far-off hurricane forming and growing stronger and we worry about where it will go next; we think about the innumerable homes destroyed by a recent storm; we see the resulting avalanche of charitable giving and volunteering that made us catch our breath as people rushed into the vacuum to save strangers who were nothing more (nor less) than kin of kind, brothers and sisters of species, but not known to them. And we feel […]
February 18, 2018
TDM7

The Daily Minute v.VII

Good morning, brand names and generic equivalents, and you know who you are. It’s another great day here at the mile-high broadcast tower and media complex of The 200 Project, and this is your Take 5 Daily Alignment. Today, we travel around the virtual world in five easy steps. Here we go: 1. Urban Harvest digs Houston. Literally. This “nonprofit organization [has] three hardworking programs at its core: Community Gardens, gardening and youth Education, and Farmers Markets.” They’re one of the true-blue – er, true-green? – advocates for growing and eating local. Not only that: If you feel like getting down to the gritty-gritty, there are volunteer opportunities aplenty to help in their gardens and elsewhere, and no experience is required. Definitely worth a peek. 2.And speaking of […]
February 11, 2018
Fear

Fear and its Servant

The thing lives inside us all and is waiting, always ready. And often it doesn’t have to wait long; at those times we give it all the food it needs and it comes forth and feeds greedily upon what we give it, which most of the time is us, in a way. In those moments, we imagine ourselves taller and stronger than we really are, much more righteous than we have a right to feel – and with a feral judgment we only barely recognize. With a single swipe of its paw, we lay waste to the houses of cards that surround us, the careful labor of others. A mighty bellow alerts the world that the beast is among us and must be answered to; […]