There is a force greater than all others.
It's not an emotion that yanks your heartstrings leading to a rash decision.
It's not a movement of physics, scientifically and systematically pushing an object along a plane.
It's not a river slicing through a landscape or a glacier carving a canyon.
It's not mankind itself, razing and paving every hill in the name of progress.
The force of which I speak is not one of these individual things, because it is all of these things. The force of which I speak is the earth itself, from which all life springs and all hope is gained or lost. The force that graciously allows us to explore and alter her grounds.
The earth is timeless.
My perception of this planet is narrow. I am only able to know what has been preserved and passed down, or what I am able to see and learn through my own experience.
But the earth, she knows no bounds. I am but one speck of trillions on her surface, lingering long enough to create an inch of impact. Even all of the collective impacts of every person throughout human history is still but one minuscule piece in the billion-year puzzle of our universe.
The earth is formidable.
I can do a lot as one individual here on earth, at least within the sphere of influence I create. And as a society we've made grand attempts to tame the earth through invention and progress. On the surface we all look pretty darn tough.
But all that we’ve accomplished still pales in comparison to the preeminence of our world. We can cover the earth in cement, suck out every drop of oil, and burn every tree, and all we'll do is kill ourselves. This planet, severely altered or not, will live on despite our worst efforts.
The earth is awesome.
I know wonderful and caring people - artists and engineers, musicians and magicians, do-gooders and creators - all who help me and others to see life anew.
But to truly be awesome, one must actually create awe.
Never has anything awed me as much as the earth itself. No stately structure of glass and steel can ever match the natural nobility of the Yosemite Falls. No single loquacious character can speak with as much thunder as the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. No feat of engineering or advancement can ever compete with the scientific wonder that is the indisputable interconnectedness of every living and stationary thing on this planet.
Mankind has its moments. We’ve produced stirring speeches, mesmerizing melodies, and multitudes of individually important moments that change us as a society and change us individually. But when you step into nature and step out of your comfort zone, I guarantee you will see everything you thought was so big begin to look ever so small.
None of us, myself included, spend enough time in the natural world, but it's critically important that we do - that we take time out of our lives to feel the power as often as possible. Not just for personal gratification, but to realize that personal gratification is entirely insignificant. To understand that our goals and aspirations and moments are but one small part of a much larger, much more important scheme. And by doing so, help us to appreciate our goals and aspirations and moments that much more.
You start with a small plant, one other living thing. Easy, patient, and innocent. A simple piece of the natural earth.
You begin to see animals, domestic and wild. The dogs and cats, our chosen companions. The critters that live off our societal leftovers. The beasts that roam our mountains and backcountry. All a part of the vast network of life.
You peer deeper and find trees, big trees, the live oak and hardwood and redwood that are hundreds if not thousands of years old. That hold the land together with their deep roots. That provide the shade for our refuge. That provide the oxygen for life. That organically regulate themselves through a natural order of death and regeneration. That make us feel young, and small, and insignificant by comparison.
You look up to see the mountains that bend our landscape at their will. Untameable by our machinery and concrete. Incorruptible except from the most dastardly of our mining, fracking, and damming inventions. That provide a refuge for all animals, wild and tame alike - tame animals like us.
And then, if you're lucky enough, you discover the gems that line the crown of our earth. Spaces not created through specific effort of man. Spaces that all living creatures call sacred. Sometimes we call them national parks, monuments, or forests.. .or sometimes we call them sanctuary, because their significance is refuge to our soul.
Sometimes we don’t take the time to notice them. Sometimes we believe we’re too busy. Sometimes we’re too numb to feel the power even when we do take the time. But when you pause in their presence and relinquish control, you realize you always knew them, they were always a part of you. When you open your mind to really see them, they inspire you to something bigger, greater, more.
In every level of of the natural, especially in those gems of earth, you feel the power. It's a power that's always all around us, but if it's the right moment and place, it becomes unavoidable. When you seek it out and visit its majesty, it's inescapably wonderful.
It’s the power that makes the world turn.
It's the power that cannot be stopped.
It's the power that gets us out of our heads.
It’s the power that inspires us to do great things.
It is the power.