As long as there has been desire, there has been a certain way that men look at women, and women look at men. It is encoded in our genes. It fires us up and drives our spirit.
Lately, it is the same look that steals across my face, and that of my husband, when we spot random wood lying unclaimed by the roadside.
Clearly we are people possessed. My youngest son has noticed and is rather concerned.
We do not menace others on the roads by texting or primping while driving. But we will be distracted by a downed tree, or a cluster of limbs, abandoned on the roadside. “What great firewood that would make,” we say to ourselves.
And we rush to tell each other, reporting what we saw and where, noting precisely where the lumber-rich lode is located.
My oldest son, also bemused by his parents odd behavior, is nonetheless indulging our addiction. He called the other day to tell us about a fallen tree on his street, which was being systematically dismantled by professional tree people. My husband arranged for the branches to be cut up into stove-sized nuggets for us to retrieve later. Last Thursday, we went over and collected them.
We were emboldened to speak with other neighbors about their windfall of wood that the storm had brought down. They were only too happy to set aside their arborial flotsam for us. In a matter of days, there were piles of chopped wood - magnolias, pine, maple and poplars - scattered around the neighborhood for us to pick up.
What was unsightly debris to our neighbors was lignin-gold to us.
Which, I suppose, is the point of this blog: in this remarkable, self-sustaining world of ours, there is no such thing as waste.
For over a billion years, nature has brought forth life, and re-absorbed life. The cycle of birth and death, growth and restorative decay is the secret to earth’s verdancy and fertility. Without it, earth would have become sterile, its generative resources consumed in a few generations, the stuff of past life lying in lifeless, useless, wasteful heaps scattered all about.
Earth, nature, does not know waste. Neither should we. For most of human existence, all that we made was re-used, and reabsorbed. We were part of nature’s cycle of life. The Industrial Revolution and the awesome creativity of human imagination changed that. And because we thought the world was so very big, we thought it could absorb all the trash we made. We could throw things away, over there, far from us.
We know better now. The earth is finite, with limited resources and limited capacity to re-absorb our garbage. There is, as we are learning, no such thing as “away”, no such place as “over there”. There should also be no such concept as waste. It is all connected. And it all must be recycled.
The 21st century is when we must undo the mistakes of the 19th century. We must banish the very concept of waste. In response to the Industrial Revolution, we must create and drive our own Generative Revolution. We must harness the human will and imagination to build a cyclical, self-renewing society.
We are almost there. It is both an exciting and sacred task. For in its pursuit, and in its success, we truly act as the partners of God that we were created to be.