August 1, 2015

RAYMOND GREINER: "A PLACE TO LOVE"

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 latest book, a collection of fiction, nonfiction, and two novella's titled Hinterland Narrative is available on Amazon. 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.
 





  A Place to Love

    
    The spectacle of this morning defies description as I acclaim the intensity of its beauty.  As is consistent with such moments it’s a combination of features that prompts appreciation.  Vividly green grass viewed in every direction and trees in full leaf as billowy, white clouds merge with a bright, blue sky; yet, so many living within current social design never experience such an event.  The opportunity may present itself but goes unrecognized ignored as distracting affects impede recognition blocked by a flurry of activities that converge and dominate.  
    Environmental influence is the source of our creation, forming what and who we are.  This natural formation exposes direction toward goals leading to achievements, melding with the dynamic of one’s habitat wholly, impacting dimension and value of results discovered.  This is true with all Earthly life, as it affixes to its particular time/space equation, including human social structure and behavior.    
    Urbanization has inundated our planet and the greatest proportion of humanity resides in cities requiring adjustment to congestion and stress associated with noise and clutter, weakening opportunity for introspective thought.  Rush mentality is solidly in place.  Rush to work; rush home, with the adjective “fast” applied to daily basic functions.  Fast food, fast Internet connection as we often hear the question: “How long will that take?”   This is a recurring cycle diminishing ability to contemplate environmental presence and its impact; therefore, cloaking importance.
     I have developed an obsessive interest in ancient human cultures and am fascinated by their direct link to Earth’s abundant natural offerings and how they survived using Earth’s elements systematically with maximum efficiency.
    The Adena culture was a Pre-Columbian Native American Culture that existed between 1000 and 200 BCE, in a time known as The Early Woodland Period.  This culture is considered the foundation social design that evolved into other Native American cultures.  The Adena were located in a zone that is presently Central Ohio and also bordering what is now Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  The Adena were mound builders used as burial sites and were named after a large mound discovered on Thomas Worthington’s early 19th century estate named “Adena” near Chillicothe, Ohio.
    The Adena were notable for their agriculture practices, pottery, and artistic work developing an extensive trade network, which provided raw materials ranging from Great Lakes regional copper to seashells from the Gulf Coast.  They were skilled hunter-gatherers supporting agriculture and epitomize how cohesively early cultures blended with environmental surroundings.  Housing was uniform and did not represent social class identity, as is prominent during this modern era.  Dwellings were small, round in form, using pole wall construction tilted outward and conical shaped roofs covered with bark and walls were covered with either bark or wickerwork.  The Adena were not a warring culture, displaying symbiosis with themselves and elements of nature unlike the ubiquitous confrontational behavior prevalent during other historic times, including present day, proving peaceful coexistence is within the realm of reality for us as a species.
    Questions arise.  How can modern day social design gain from what is known of past cultures and their capacity to embrace natural environments and avoid the anger, hate driven, warring disposition so prevalent during these times?  Are we to revert to the hunter-gatherer era?  This is impossible, for many reasons.  The Adena and other early culture’s success were influenced because of sparse population distribution and access to vast geographically uninhabited zones not available today.  We as a species have expanded in numbers unimaginable during hunter-gatherer eras.  Although, we can emulate and appreciate the love early cultures shared for nature and its boundless beauty, creating desire for preservation necessary to insure our planet’s well-being and future.
    Compared to many Earthly species humanity occupies a fraction of other species longevity.  The most recent archeological discoveries have placed human Earthly presence at 2.8 million years and our present day social design has been in place for around 10,000 years.  These statistics reveal the so-called, primitive timeline far exceeds current social design and also comparing other species historical presence to ours is a fascination and may offer a glimpse regarding potential human longevity.
    The longest historical presence is displayed among aquatic life forms and some have thrived as a species for hundreds of millions of years.  The oldest known species is the sea sponge, which has been thriving for in excess of 700 million years.  Also, to my personal delight, the magnificent Chambered Nautilus has been around for 500 million years.  It’s staggering to think of such spans of time.  
    I see opossums frequently on my property, a most interesting animal.  They are one of the oldest mammals and were here when the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago.  The opossum is not proficient at dodging speeding cars on roadways but has demonstrated it has all other complexities for longevity calculated correctly.  They are among my favorite critters, true survivors.
    Therefore, nature is our guide, leading and demonstrating ability to continue and adjust to natural environmental conditions.  We humans must adjust also and this will come through greater understanding of global ecology applied toward enhanced preservation.  If we continue expanding and separating from natural Earth bound environments, attempting to establish our own environments, we will continue to stumble and possibly fail as a species.  Overpopulation, polluting soil with chemicals to speed crop growth and increase yields at the cost of destroying organic organisms that live in and enrich the soil.  Killing bees and other pollinators, as we consume foods of questionable purity.  If we continue to spew toxins into the air we breathe and persist with our attachment to fossil fuel the price will far exceed monetary damage assessment.  We consider ourselves to be the most advanced life form on our planet as we also flounder and become misdirected through our own influences.  We have in place gadgets and devices that the ancient Adena could never imagine but as we study the Adena, comparing their ability to harmonize and align with their environment, one may ask the question: “Did the Adena know something that we fail to see or understand?”  Our planet and our environment offer us a place to live but even more important, we need a place to love.  
~Raymond Greiner            

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