I love this Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, by Bill Watterson. It speaks to me on so many different levels, not least of all as a Mother of Cats. But it’s mostly the first part that I’ll be pondering over in this blog post today.
Is nature indifferent to us? Well, perhaps on the whole, yes. Nature could be indifferent to everything. The entirety of nature is such a vast concept, to me it’s like pondering deity, for in my own religious and spiritual view, nature is deity.
However, in my own personal practice, I feel that the gods are not indifferent to us, so where does that leave me with regards to the above? I’m just not sure. Could it be a paradox, that the deities care and don’t care at the same time? That would make them truly similar to cats…
It’s hard to come to terms with the darker aspects of nature, the pain and suffering that exists. Just yesterday there as a fox in the garden, and it looked like s/he had been hit by a car. One of their back legs wasn’t working, and there was definitely trauma to the back leg and hip. The fox had worried all the fur off of the back leg, hip and tail. It was taking respite from the wind in our garden, sheltered as it is by hedges. It also had a nice long drink from our pond.
After a while I went out to see just how badly it was injured. It couldn’t hear me above the wind, and I didn’t want to startle it so I called softly out to it. It turned its head and then quickly stood up. I gave it a quiet wave and it ran on its three legs back through the hole in the hedge and was gone.
I put some food out for it later that day, and will be doing so each night. I fear that the chances that this fox will survive are pretty slim, but at least it won’t die on an empty stomach.
I meditated that night on the suffering that goes on all around us, every second of every day. That poor fox was in lot of pain, but there was nothing I could do about it. Even had I called the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, chances are that by the time they got here the fox would be long gone anyway. I wondered at how such a thing could happen, could be “allowed” to happen to a beautiful creature as this fox. Tears flowed as I struggled with the suffering of so many lives right now.
People are in the hospital, wars are going on, wild animals are being hit by cars, the oceans and rivers are full of raw sewage and plastic – I could go on and on. It sure seems like the majority of humans today are indifferent to nature, so why shouldn’t nature be indifferent to us?
But nature hasn’t been indifferent to me. I have had wonderful experiences of true connection. I understand how we are all part of this one, great whole. I just wish that others could understand this, in order to save ourselves from our own self-destruction, and the widespread destruction of nature all around us.
But nature is also indifferent. The wind blows whether we like it or not. We have no say in earthquakes, sunshine or rain. Perhaps this is not indifference, but our own inability to see the bigger picture, the whole.
I am not offended by the seeming indifference nature has for us. Rather, I see it as an opportunity to show nature how much I really care. I aim to live in this world as best I can, with as much sympathy, empathy and compassion as I am able to give. I seek to be a contributing, functioning member of my own local ecosystem, and thereby a part of the wider world too.
Maybe nature really is like a cat. Sometimes it appears indifferent, and other times we can feel the genuine affection that it has for us, if only we are sensitive enough to feel it and open enough to accept it.