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Alienature (the alienation of people from nature)

(reposted from Nina's Blog: http://blog.bjen.org/ Thursday, September 1, 2011)

It all began when we caged electricity.

This miraculous taming of God’s fierce fire; the channeling, damming and undamming of the stuff that drives the pulse of the universe and every creature’s heart.

Our slow, sad alienation from nature all began when we put those ions on the end of a leash.

The power we have harvested removes from us the awareness of the every day life. We forget the precious heaviness of water. We are blind to the ebb and flow of day’s light and darkness. Our spaces are filled with noise that drowns out the rustling, twittering, chattering and stillness of earth.

This is not a lament against progress. We know what our lives would be without electricity and we have chosen well.

But we still must acknowledge the collateral damage that has come with such a victory. And perhaps see what we can do to minimize it.

We can see both sides in disasters like hurricanes. Those with energy have the power to remove fallen trees; fix broken buildings and roads; help people in need; and get the world back into shape.

Yet those without energy for days on end enjoy blessings of our own. We feel again the rhythms of the earth, the circlings ofthe sun. Light is light and dark is dark. No mistake about it. Evening envelopes us slowly but wholly, and all we can do is pierce it faintly with our fisted candles and flashlights. We are reminded of the inevitable powers of night and day which the might of electricity makes us believe we can vanquish.

Without electricity, we rev up in the morning and slow down at night. We live more in the presence of those here with us than with those far away. We are more planful about the foods we eat and the people we eat with. We talk with neighbors, share our resources, cheer each other on. We are more mindful of the needs of others, send our thoughts to those who are also without power (of all kinds) and live in a more aware, intense, and appreciative way.

So, yes, we are still without power, and since we are on a well, without water too. I am eager to put my house back in order, rinse the dishes with water gushing from the faucet, brush my teeth with water that flows without being poured, do a laundry at home.

But I will also miss the sweet quiet of the evenings, the increased visits to and from family, and the added intensity that living closer to nature’s rhythms has returned to us.

(Photo: our Tiffany-inspired hurricane lamp)

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  • Evonne Marzouk
    September 6, 2011 (6:56 pm)

    So true: “Evening envelopes us slowly but wholly, and all we can do is pierce it faintly with our fisted candles and flashlights.” I too have had this experience when electricity is out. There’s an urgency and inevitability to it. Darkness is coming! I’ve heard from men who pray mincha at sunset that they also are conscious of the onset of darkness – it’s getting dark, I better pray! what a beautiful instinct, no?


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