Columbine Paradox

We all have those moments, those ineffable moments that are the birthright of every human, those fleeting moments when we know with Emerson that we are ‘part or parcel’ of all that is and was and will be.

Standing in an alpine meadow, I reach out to a translucent blossom of the Colorado blue columbine luminous in the sun’s light. It is like touching the sky. For one extra-ordinary moment, all is right with the world as I touch in with the star stuff with both come from.

But then the ‘buzz and din’ of another reality comes over me like the summer clouds being created by the up-thrust of the Rocky Mountains: I have only made it up to this splendid field because a friend has a four-wheel-drive SUV.

I plop down on a boulder of granite to ponder the paradox.    IMG_2430

The pale purple of a pollution-bruised sky, these wild ones are already thinning and fading from the impact of a changing climate. They look like a flock of doves taking flight and I worry where they will go from here.

There is no more land bridge over which to retrace their migration;          the open water is expanding ever further, making space for oil rigs to add insult to injury. Our human beliefs and behaviors are endangering all the other species that we share the planet with.

On behalf of the columbine I have changed my light bulbs and life ways: rooftop solar panels power my home and electric car, and I have become politically active around the unfolding crisis. I guest preach and lead workshops on climate change.

Yet today I have ‘slipped’ into old patterns, rationalizing that, although I burned carbon emitting fossil fuels to reach these columbine,  it is through my writing about them that they’ll become immortal.

And that in this unrepeatable moment we are blessing one another.


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