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Lions Roar : May 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN M Ay 2009 34 might take a hundred years, or two hun- dred, beyond that, but no matter; I dare not tinker with so ancient and established of a species—trying to coax it into a place it might never have been before. perhaps this kind of reverence, respect and rev- erence, more than anything else, defines a pagan; I don’t know. Whatever it is, I know that I feel it strongly. If this kind of attentiveness to, and gratitude for, the creation is excessive, or unseemly in our species, or, worst of all, ungodly, then I apologize for having been snookered by the dark forces; but know that I will go to damnation for having been an ignorant or mistaken man, rather than an evil one. Some of my neighbors—friends— frown on the zeal, the restless tenor, of my environmentalism. They counsel me that with eternity at stake in the unending afterlife, there is little point or economy in getting so fretted up about clear-cuts when our mortal time here is so temporal, and the earth is but a proving grounds for the far greater and lasting struggle of our souls, our eternal salvation. and sometimes—when I’m really tired of the struggle—I want to believe them. But someone—their God, my God, somebody’s God—put the spark and light of peace and joy and worship and awe in my heart, when I stand in a cathedral of ancient cedars, or when I am far back in the distant mountains, so close to the sky and a scale of time greater than my own brief stay—and that spark tells me that for me, activism is a form of prayer, a way of paying back some small fraction of the blessing that the wilderness is to me; a way of celebrating and protecting that creation, and a way of giving thanks. ♦ For me, environmental activism is a form of prayer, a way of paying back some small fraction of the blessing that the wilderness is to me.