Saturday, May 23, 2009

Brass Tacks

It's as lovely a day today (Saturday, May 23) here at the east end of Orcas Island as one could possibly imagine. If weather were the sole indicator of Paradise, today would define this place, this time, as The Moment. It can't get any better. Or rather, I can't imagine how it could get any better. The air is fresh, the temp in the upper 60's, there is a cloudless sky, a slight breeze off the water; it is silent save for the birds, the only human sounds were muted voices from a gaggle of kayaks lazily moving along the shoreline.
I suspect that the subtext of my vision of Paradise is the location of the balance point between human and the remainder of the natural systems that comprise life (and everything else) on earth. Right now, right here, the human presence is essentially insignificant in the landscape. What presence there is moves gently, by human power, with the goal (if goal is a concept that could be said to apply) to simply appreciate it.
I sense an impulse, certainly a component of my motivation to write Potholes, to preserve this balance, or at least to initiate a conversation. Who would sit at the table?
Decades ago, a law review article mutated into a book entitled "Should Trees Have Standing?" (Christopher Stone, 1972). Using the argument that to deny "nature" a voice in what is done "to" her just because she can't speak English is entirely insufficient to deny standing (a legal term which permits a plaintiff to press charges, analgous to the argument that children and certain disabled individuals need a guardian to represent them), I could see a whole host of characters (or their attorneys) at the table discussing how the entire variety of life, energy, resources and other "earth" players might "work out" a plan to accommodate everyone's desires. Imagine earthworms, fungi, bacteria, bugs, viruses, elephants, sequoias, wrens, blue whales, granite, coal, deep ocean water and magma (for starters) all having an equal voice with less than a handful of humans. I imagine the concensus would not (today) be human-favorable. In the context of The Garden (Eden, Paradise), we wouldn't need a Supreme Being to kick us out. We'd be voted out, or at least put on work release, probation, and required to do a lot of community service.
Anticipating this encounter, how would we prepare our arguments? What would we say? What would we offer?

No comments:

Post a Comment