I see trees


Sometime in the near future NASA is going to reveal that they have found the center of the Universe.

A lot of people are going to be crushed to find that it’s not them.

I am growing so incredibly frustrated with the materialistic, self-centered, selfie society we are becoming.
Rampant consumerism has a firm choke hold on the throat of moderation.
Savings have dwindled, debts have soared, and landfills are heaping with the scraps of our throwaway mentality.
Self-obsession and promotion has become the new normal. We’d rather film a person beating someone up than stop to help them.
We are becoming too power obsessed, fighting for our little scraps and destroying everything in our path in the process.

I fear that we are losing our humanity.

 While I always tried to avoid participating in such a life, I was forced to live along side it. Fortunately, in the downsizing of my existence I was finally able to walk away from it completely. Once free from the pursuit of a larger everything I have embraced normalcy. I have welcomed my average. I celebrate and surround myself with the regular. And I have never been happier.

One of my favorite movie scenes is from The Great Outdoors, starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd. They are in Canada on vacation, sitting on a deck overlooking a lake. Dan Aykroyd, a materialistic businessman, goes off on a tirade about what he sees when he looks out over the water. He describes a vision of future Industrialization, urban sprawl, forestry, and medical waste dumps. John Candy’scharacter is a simple man, and when asked what he sees, replies
“I just see trees.”
He is then summarily berated for being short-sighted and simple. Sorry to say, but that’s me, I just see trees.

In order to appreciate the world we have to take our eyes off of the screens and look up and around. We need to appreciate the power and beauty of nature. The beauty is everywhere, the power rearing its mighty head unpredictably. Both manifest in subtle sights and awe-inspiring displays. The flight of the bird, starlit nights and sunsets, the reflection of foliage on the still waters of a pond on a late fall afternoon. Such sights fill me with wonder and give me cause me to question my place in the world and to seek a spiritual connection to the Universe.

The looming mountaintop, the endless horizon seen from the beach, the mighty Oak, the rushing river, wind tearing through trees, waves crashing and receding with a massive riptide serve another purpose entirely. They remind me of how small I really am in the grand scheme of things. Instead of being intimidated, I embrace it.

I recognize my relative size and overall significance in comparison to the Universe. I know my place. No man is a match for the mighty tide, despite his wealth, power and amount of Instagram followers. Man is only a force in, not of, Nature when he embraces his fellow man. But instead of coming together as an advanced society we have drifted apart and we are regressing. Our humanity is whatmakes us great, the increasing lack of it is destroying us.

Thisis a call for humility,
A wake-up call to recognize and embrace our smallness.
A damper of ego and hubris.
For less stuff andmore quality.

To just see Trees…

13 thoughts on “I see trees”

  1. Hi Billy! I started to say this was a beautiful post, but it is beyond that. It is profound. This is a message that every person on earth needs to hear, hear often, and embrace.

    I have noticed the same thing you talk about … that it is so hard to jump off of the plodding freight train of mindless consumerism, of consumption for consumption’s sake, or purchasing one-upsmanship. I have been trying to get off of it for about three years now and I have made great strides, but in some ways we live in a culture that makes it impossible not to consume. My entire soul grimaces at the amount of waste I have to throw away each week just because I need to eat. Bottles and wrappers and boxes and trays and cans. I recycle everything possible to recycle, but it is still a phenomenal waste.

    And the vast amounts of things we buy that we don’t need, but that we buy only because we need to not feel left out. The latest phone, the biggest vehicle, the highest definition televisions, the flashiest house, the latest fashions. Like you, I have finally (almost too late) realized the futility of those things. They do not make us better people or make us feel any better about ourselves or bestow upon us happiness. They are just flickers of light, reflections in the pond in your piece above, that are here and then gone, but meanwhile have distracted us from looking at the real beauty and meaning that is all around us if we’d just look.

    As an aside, John Candy was a genius at pointing out to us, in a soft, compassionate, humorous way, how absurd it is that we chase the wrong things in life while ignoring the things that are truly important.

    Brilliant, beautiful piece you wrote! I hope lots and lots of people read it and learn from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Biff, such praise.
      I am glad this piece resonated with you. I have always suspected that we were alike in our thinking.
      I’m afraid it’s not going to get around much, it didn’t get many views. Oh well, I feel better for putting it out there

      Liked by 1 person

  2. trees, and the life within them; lakes and rivers that hold millions of generations of other forms of life; soil, that keeps alive all who dwell within and on this rock we call home.
    A great thought – I hope it catches on.

    Liked by 2 people

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