Five Lessons from the Mountain

I read things every day about how we're supposed to behave in the face of overwhelming social and environmental injustice. 

But what is the appropriate response to a melting Arctic, all-consuming wildfires, unprecedented floods and mass extinctions?

How do we react to immigrant children being caged and women denied basic rights?

It’s really hard to know what to do and how to go about doing it. But the mountains have much to teach us. Here are five invaluable mountain lessons for our times.

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Is It Bad to Love Bambi?

Is it really irrational to imagine that a young doe on losing his or her mother will feel afraid and lost? Haven't we seen mother bears distraught at the loss of a cub? And haven't we all read stories of inter-species friendships that seem to clearly point toward the fact that animals––just like us humans––will go to great lengths to experience play, affection, companionship?

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"Walking" by Linda Hogan

Walking, I can almost hear the redwoods beating. And the oceans are above me here, rolling clouds, heavy and dark, considering snow. On the dry, red road, I pass the place of the sunflower, that dark and secret location where creation took place. I wonder if it will return this summer, if it will multiply and move up to the other stand of flowers in a territorial struggle.

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My Tree by Rolf Jacobsen

It’s the cedar – the mother of lingonberry – that is my tree.
It doesn’t need summer  – rain and snow are enough.

Its top is high and ragged, no one hears its sound.
It has a tough, long root that it sinks into gravel.

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Once Upon a Time, In a Forest

Some will say that the  stories we bring home from the wild defy logic and reason. They will tell us that trees have no feelings, do not scream with thirst, or suffer when felled. They will tell us that we are too emotional in our recounting. They will tell us that the loss of a few old trees can’t possibly affect a meadow.

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Do You Carry the "Tender Gravity" of Kindness?

Recently, the concept of kindness has been much on my mind. I have been in London arranging for long-term carers for my 90-year-old mother who recently fell down stairs. She has fallen a lot lately, and it's clear that living alone is no longer a viable option.

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