June 5, 2015

Essay By Raymond Greiner: Falling Back To Butterflies

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.

 Falling Back To Butterflies

Three summers past we had a horrid drought.  Crops failed, ponds dried up and grass was brown.  It was as if the world ended.  The poplar trees took the biggest hit; we lost ten, yet some survived.  It was a depressing summer.  The forces of nature can be harsh or gentle; they can display extreme beauty or hideous ugliness.  Regardless of crisis magnitude nature perpetuates, adjusting and regenerating, nature harmonizes with Earth, flowing with tides of change.

As I observed those dying poplar trees, I felt despair and anxiety; however, death in nature forms balanced momentum.  In nature, death is a channel to life.  Human death can be also.  If one lives a long, fulfilling life with love, joy and purpose, their legacy reflects in their offspring’s moving life to its new place.

Human life emulates nature’s functions, but in recent times has fallen out of natural rhythms, causing imbalance.  Early humans were like the eagle and fox; they killed to feed their

Falling Back To Butterflies
young, securing their future.  They foraged for wild plants in nature’s garden, thriving from direct attachment to Earth’s natural offerings.  Progressive changes occurred over spans of time with humanity distancing itself from Earth’s spiritual, natural presence seeking to alter environments adjusting to an expanding populous.  These events slowly created a different approach, requiring living in closer proximity, forming conglomerates of population densities defined by geographic boundaries.  This new design isolated itself from wild places.  Governments formed, agriculture expanded, accommodating the new social structure as it became incapable of self-sufficiency.  Monetary systems were installed as a distribution method of basic needs.  Humanity became reliant on governments, conforming to urban entrapment.  These changes shaped the root ideology of the modern era.

Observing results from these redirections raises questions.  Anthropology reveals that humanity has occupied our planet for approximately two million years and present day arrangement has been in place for around fourteen thousand years, beginning in the Fertile Crescent.  This is also the birthplace of large-scale war, and the perceived need to amass armies for invasion, control and dominance, and to defend against neighboring aggressors.  Hunter-gatherer cultures leave no artifacts resembling this condition.  Early tribal cultures were widely scattered, did not recognize borders, functioning in small units relying on earthly gifts, flourishing in cohesiveness.  Massive armies and large-scale war had no place in early social structure.

War is a firm fixture in modern culture, and continues to escalate.  When Hitler was at his peak of greatness, he viewed war as power to control and manipulate.  He gained this power through political posturing, falsely convincing an entire country that his guidance will lead to utopia.  How often has this scenario pressed itself into prominence?  Hitler was exposed as evil, and after his demise the collective feeling of peace was finally achieved.  As I read the daily news, this is an incorrect assumption.  Upheaval and senseless killing continues.  Children killed with poison gas delivered by the leader of their own country.  Young girls kidnapped to be sold into slavery, abused and offered as ransom.  How is this considered a better design than what the ancients had in place for such a long period of time?  Of course it is not.  A question presented to me was: “Are we supposed to go back to a primitive life?”  It would seem logical, but also impossible although, I question the term primitive.  We, as a species have reached the tipping point and solutions are elusive.

Over the past ten years I have lived in a natural place far from metropolitan zones.  My daily connection to nature has become imbedded in my soul.  The quiet, peaceful day-to-day life has no resemblance to urban noise and clutter.  I feel more in balance than during my working years, mired in congestion, placing money at the forefront.  Nature is perfection, and as one connects to nature more profoundly, this vivid reality comes into focus; the morning rattle of the woodpecker, a flock of loquacious crows transiting the sky.  This particular spring is most welcome after an exceptionally harsh winter.

My favorite spring critter is the butterfly, flitting from place to place, probing with its delicate, single sensitive identifying finger.  The butterfly is a product of nature’s most fascinating metamorphosis, and as my life progresses, it has become apparent our species is in dire need of re-design, new direction and transformation away from the ubiquitous imbalances of present day society.  With its vivid color and motion, the butterfly epitomized life and the beauty of nature, wending forward, embracing its time on Earth.  As I observe them, dismay is tempered and I am spiritually lifted to a higher place as nature is our quiet teacher, and if we listen, learning its precision lessons, we can mirror the butterfly, falling back to it, in a cadence of higher purpose and direction on a pathway toward peaceful, spiritual bliss.

First published in Bellesprit Online Magazine 
~Raymond Greiner

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