Last night, a thunderstorm rumbled through our area. It arrived after dark, and when the first bolt of lightning lit up the sky, Susan and I looked at each other across the room, surprising us at first, but then we smiled in anticipation. We turned out the lights in the living room, to watch the show. I put down my book I was reading and turned on some music. I was not disappointed as the storm rumbled and the rain fell to the rhythm of the music. There is power in a storm, just as there is inspiration in music. The two forces together periodically brought tears to my eyes throughout the night.
In those moments of transcendence, I could feel the chasm between humans and nature erode into a blissful symphony of sound and light. It is right that such an erosion should occur because the gulf between us and nature is fictional and is caused by a collective delusion. In our separateness from nature and creation, we feel lonely and displaced. In just a few weeks, we will begin to engage in an annual ritual of our species. Our species will plant the seeds in the fields that will feed us next year. That act confuses us.
We believe ourselves to be in control. We think that we grow corn to serve our needs. Yet, from corn’s point of view, we serve it by scattering its seeds so that its progeny may live on. In return, it offers some of its essence for us to live. In our arrogance, we miss our own myriad symbioses’ with nature. Our hubris can leave us empty and cold, because we feel alone at the “top.” The storm reminded me of my smallness, and that I am just as tiny as the seeds that will soon sprout in the living soil to feed us throughout the next year. The need between me and those seeds is mutual.
The same isolation, caused by the delusion of control, also clouds our vision from seeing our inter-dependencies with each other within our species. Just as the seeds’ existence is intertwined with its natural community like the birds that spread them, the bees that pollinate them, and the soil micro and macro life that help the plant grow and bloom, we need each other to survive and thrive. I was reminded of this last night, as the lightning danced from cloud to cloud in synchronicity to the music. I was humbled by the fact that I was as helpless against the forces of the storm as the rest of the life that shares the farm with us. Yet the storm did not bring destruction, but rather life-giving water for the soil. It was in those deeply meaningful moments when the music seemed to echo the storm that I realized that we are all inextricably connected to all life, including each other, and that is a fact that we can’t afford to ignore.