As I watched this masterpiece by Ken Burns on PBS my heart was touched at a deep level. As John Muir was quoted, "Without wilderness we risk losing our souls;" I wanted to cancel all my business appointments and drive out into "The Wild."
John Muir was a master of pattern recognition. He created high levels of productivity in early American factories, and later built his wife's farm into a masterpiece of agriculture. But he could not resist what Emerson called, "The Great Intelligence." He was constantly drawn deep into nature to experience the ultimate pattern. He said, "Nature is an interrelated joyous web of being." Ken Burns shows how when he was away from "The Wild" he would wither, as we all do when we separate ourselves from this "joyous being."
He talked continuously about the views and vistas of creation and how getting lost in man's ideas about God seem so shallow compared to God's creations that reach out to us everyday, if we would only see. Continuous connection to this life force is the answer to our sorrows.
Ken Burns' work reminds me of an old Tibetan story. A man lived his whole life in a cabin on top of a great mountain. The cabin had no windows or doors; he could only see the darkness. But one day he sees a thin ray of light coming through a crack in a wall that is weakening after decades of wind. He is filled with joy and wonders where this light is coming from. He is drawn to the light and pushes against the wall to see more, and after years of struggle, the walls fall down and the ceiling is blown away by the wind, and suddenly he sees "The View" from the top of this beautiful mountain.
It seems many of us have built walls of fear around our lives as we struggle to survive in our world. "The View" is not far away, all we have to do is let down our walls. Thank you Ken Burns for reminding us to preserve "The Wild" and to venture out into the "joyous web of being" that surrounds us.
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