Unity with Nature
I do know that I never wanted to be an environmentalist. I grew up in a logging town with a fairly polarized community. Frankly, I didn’t want to be or marry a redneck logger or a tree-hugging ecofreak. I just wanted out of town, or out of the forest to be more exact. But over the last twenty years, I have come to appreciate my upbringing, my parents’ commitment to raising intelligent, responsible girls, and the true freedom and opportunities that small town life afforded me.
However, once I was away from the forest for a few years, God started calling me. Not back to the forest per se, but it is a fact that my most profound mystical experience happened in a mountain forest and gave me to understand that I am as miniscule as a mountain in God’s creation, and as immensely important as a blade of grass. There’s a bit more to it, but I won’t tell the whole story now. The problem is that I was so struck by the fact that God was talking to me that it took me ten years to even pay attention to what God was telling me. It took me a year and a half to find Quaker meeting, and then eight years of going to Quaker meetings before I got over the shock and was able to focus on the message. And then I realized that the message, in a nutshell, was unity with nature.
So what does this really have to do with PYM? I may not serve on the committee, but I try to go to some of their activities. I’ll just say now that I went to one session of the group on mystical experiences in nature and it felt flat to me. I didn’t go to the further meetings of the group, partly because the next one was too late in the evening, but partly because I left the first one feeling more irritated than inspired. Why is it that I am so disdainful of other people’s mystical experiences? I don’t know for sure, but it just might relate back to my disdain for “environmentalists” and my small-town, small-minded suspicion of anything so flaky as people thinking they’re mystics.
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