Here in This Place

by Margie B. Klein

I long to be in natural surroundings.  When I hear the thumping of a prairie chicken booming, I hear a hundred Native American drums and the beat of my own heart.  With the sound of a rushing stream, I feel the urgency of people rushing to and fro.  A bird startles and a person screams.  The wildflowers fragrant the air as they bloom and I feel the hormonal rush through my own body.  I hear the song of life.  Life all around me.  I feel it within myself here in this place.

But in the city, people are packed together like so many rats running for the sea.  They bite each other as they pass.  They sweat and they spit.  And they will kill themselves in their mad flight.  Something is not natural here.  Something is out of balance.  A negative force drives the life here.  A kind of pest attack flourished, and the natural predator was removed.  Man’s ability to fight back was lost.  There is no harmony or peace here.  There is trickery and deception.  People survive by taking from each other.  Man is predator upon himself here.

In the city the noise goes on and on.  It does not ebb and flow.  The irritation never stops.  I cannot hear myself think.  I cannot perceive any beauty because I am too busy watching for rocks and pitfalls.  I cannot hear music, but only a monotonous drone that permeates my very fiber, reverberating it till it shatters.

In the man-made world, there is no balance.  All the concrete tips the scale to one side and on the other side is only emptiness.  What is missing from this world we have contrived as being everything we need?  Substance, meaning, fulfillment of the spirit – the positive force.  Those men with so much money live in hollow houses.

One day I saw a boy lain on the ground and his own life ebbed and flowed.  He grasped for it, but his heart stopped.  He grasped again…  The ills of the city had preyed upon him.  Where will it stop?  Where is the balance in a boy’s life that will draw him back to equilibrium when the forces of alcohol and drugs pull him to the edge?

The balance is found in a world more pure than any we could create.  The perfect balance is found in the natural system – life as it was intended to be.  I must find it – must retreat to it.  So I beat a path to the wilderness.

In nature I search for healing, for the good force to balance me again.  It is found only in undisturbed and unblemished wild places.  From man’s world I only run.  But here in this natural place I can stop and breathe.  Breathe out the poisons.  Breathe in freshness, newness.  It is so powerfully serene in this place, that I must draw the very life of it into me and make myself new again.  Here I can think, I can hear, I can see…  I can understand.  In this place I feel my very soul blow with the wind.  It is wild and free.  I belong here.  There is a connectedness between myself and every living part of the wilderness.  I see the desert tortoises’ struggle for survival in diminishing habitat and I cheer them on.  I know the struggle.  For any question I could have about my own life, I can find the answer here.  My life cycle parallels that of nature.  The tree tells me I am soft and formative in my youth, growing resilient and wise with age.

I am a pinecone.  It takes me many years to mature, to collect the food for my formation.  When my time is ready, I will release what I have been holding inside me.  I will disperse more than a few seeds on the ground, hoping they have found enough nourishment from within me to grow on their own.  And when I have given all I can, I will fall on the ground and give my body back to the earth.  The life circle will be complete and my spirit released to rejoin a force of power that drives the universe.

That force is what drew me here in the first place.  It runs through nature and pervades us all.  It is that life force which draws us together of one mind.

The force of life is a feeling.  In nature I feel it strongest.  Here a rain makes me feel fresh, autumn leaves provoke melancholy, spring flowers create joy, and the sun brings happiness.  What am I but my feelings?  They are where I have been, whom I have known, how I have grown, who I am.  I embrace what I feel, be it pleasure or pain, for my feelings belie the human experience.  I want to feel and know all that I can.  I am as a coral, having many tentacles to catch whatever bits of life that I can.  My knowledge and my feelings bring me power, as I come to understand all there is about me.  In turn, I will be able to live in harmony with the world.  I can find my own niche in it.  I can appreciate every other part of it and be content with it.  Where does your contentment come from?  After all, isn’t happiness the goal of our lives?

I do not have to be in a natural place to live these feelings.  They touch me so deeply that they permeate my life blood and flow through me.  I carry them with me wherever I go.  Though long gone, I can still feel winter’s death or sultry summer’s tranquility.  A smell or a sound can transport me.  In my mind I ride a gentle river.  With all its rocks and curves, what lies around its bend?  Therein lies the mystery of life.  Where are we going?  What will the journey bring?  This is why we quest to learn and feel more and more every day.  The better I determine my place on this earth, the more I know the meaning of my life.

And I can use these feelings of mine to better it.  These feelings, this spirit, the life force, I let run through me and I give back again.  When I contribute to this positive force, it gets stronger.  It can become strong enough to drive the world to change and overcome the negative force about us.  But to be a conductor for the life force, I must be charged up.  So I go to a wild place and let the feelings of nature recharge me.  And I find my natural state of balance.  And I live.  I am.  Here in this place.


First Published in Wildflower Magazine.