February 1, 2015


Raymond Greiner's writings include short stories and essays published frequently in various literary journals and magazines:  Branches magazine, La Joie Journal, Literary Yard Journal, Nib Magazine, Canary Literary Journal, Bellesprit Magazine, Freedom Journal, Grace Notes Literary Magazine. His book, a collection of fiction and nonfiction essays titled Hinterland Journal was recently published by Outskirts Press. Raymond lives in a remote area of southern Indiana in a cabin far off a lightly traveled road with his two dogs Orion and Venus. He is a frequent contributor to Indiana Voice Journal.

The Grace of Companionship

    Companionship defines life.  Instinctive thought is of long-term, human partnerships, sharing each day, approaching the bond as a single unit, yet interacting in dual servitude toward shared goals.  Frequently such arrangements lack balance, but when in sync it’s the best of the best.
    Companionship's extend beyond human pair bonding displayed throughout the Universe.  Earth has its moon.  Jupiter has four major moons and the giant star Sirius has a tiny companion star named by astronomers Sirius B, which travels a fifty-year orbit around its companion.  Our solar system is a blip on the universal screen with its planets serving as companions held in place and fed by the Sun.  Earth is 4.5 billion years old with life forms appearing around one billion years ago, created by Sun’s expansion warming Earth.  Prior to Sun’s expansion Earth was a barren place.  Our companionship with the Sun created us.  Humanity now numbers in billions; yet, connected in thoughts, spirit and life spans forming a massive organism and companionship.  Anthropologists are astounded how ancient cultures separated geographically evolved with social similarities.  Presently the global human community has yet to discover large scale, cohesive harmony, but if and when it does, boundless worth will enhance meaningful values unveiling better direction and purpose.
    Nature forms the most profound companionship's, reaping its many benefits.  Envision the wolf without its pack and observing a pair of bluebirds in spring as they carry nesting material, each carrying a load is pure delight.  Wildflowers and their pollinators are companions.  A pair of Canada geese occupies warm months near my home, flying from pond to pond, always in voice and never more than a few feet apart.  Beavers build communal housing displaying engineering skills and teamwork.  No union contract negotiation required.  Dens and nests are homes, a base element attached to earthbound companionships.
    Humanity has experienced vivid changes over long, historical spans of time.  Science unearths details studying early human sociology revealing harmonious cohabitation, embracing the Earth’s natural gifts, coalescing intuitively.  During early human development populations were greatly dispersed forming small units, dependent on compatible day-to-day function and communal unity for survival, sharing effort toward continuation of life.
    As populations expanded dispersal became concentrated, massing in selected geographical zones.  This activity escalated in Mesopotamian regions clinging to local river systems, becoming less nomadic than earlier hunter-gatherer tribes.  This opened opportunity for great change in basic living designs, restructuring social patterns, which remain in place during this modern era.  Agricultural sophistication advanced; animals were domesticated as a food source and hunter-gatherer cultures dissipated.  From this fresh concept changes continued to develop.  The establishment of boundaries caused social separation, creating fears of border breach.  This new design emphasized government’s controlling influence, outlining communal direction and purpose.  Consumption fell under the control of government dispersal; monetary systems were installed, following legislated living guidelines as food was now purchased.  Individual survival and quality of life transpired based upon one’s ability to acquire monetary and material wealth, fusing with outlined distribution procedures.  This early, historical civil adjustment represents the beginning of human social design moving away from natural earthly attachment, seeking creation of its own environmental composition, fashioning isolation from the challenges of nature.  The Bronze Age advanced agricultural implement development, melding with increasing war mentality as fears escalated regarding border encroachment.  Farming tools were redesigned as weaponry; harvesting sickles became swords to equip massive armies.  Horse drawn hauling carts evolved into chariots of war.  A quest to dominate and control grew from this condition and has remained solidly in place since this time.  However, chariots and swords have been replaced with more efficient devices.  
    So, how does companionship play into this?  Our companionship with the Earth has been altered, exploitation has replaced congruity, pillaging resources, polluting air, water and soil displaying unquenchable ambition to add dimension to collective comforts imposed by acquisitive impulse.  Simplicity has been lost, leaving in its wake a consumerist’s “grab bag”, as the bottomless pit of craving extends far beyond basics, and the panorama of life becomes one of accumulation, hoarding, locked in a glut of superficial values.  
    A prominent question often arises.  Are there simply too many people?  This may be a reality; however, it seems possible that as a species developing so far technically solutions surely can be discovered.  It’s a matter of understanding negative issues, forming changes based upon human applied intelligence moving to new plateaus of logic.  Our errors are obvious.  It seems possible to return to a harmonious companionship with Earth.  It’s apparent that if we are capable of installing an incredible rover on Mars, transmitting amazing, clear photos, we should be able to grow our food without drenching crops and soil with toxins that without the slightest doubt poison our food and our bodies.      
    Many seek bliss within material wealth.  This is a misconception.  Materialism has crept its way into influence from surface portrayals popularized by modern society.  We are inundated by socially manifested, celebrity imagery, flaunting outrageous behavior preying on and influencing undeveloped, youthful minds.    
    I have two loving, intelligent dog companions, they experience each day living in the moment.  They don’t own anything, nor desire to own anything; yet, are fulfilled, embracing each day with the joy of being alive.  I try to engage my life in this fashion, seeking introspection, placing less value on the complexities of socially infused materialism.  I can never develop to the place my dogs are, but reduction reveals a comfort zone.  It’s a pleasant place to experience life, a companionship with oneself.  

~Raymond Greiner                       

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