by Alex Mihm
Humankind’s imprint on our surroundings is everywhere, commingled with the natural. I am typing this on my back deck. The moon, nearly full, casts stark silhouettes of the cedars before me. The wind’s breath sighs through the boughs, and somewhere nearby a fussy crow is doing a poor job of keeping the location of its nest a secret. On a hillside across the Willamette, three towers flash red in a jerky rhythm. Straight overhead a commercial jet just narrowly avoids a collision with the Big Dipper. All of this is my — our — world, and it is important to remember that, no matter what we invent or build, nothing we can own will elevate us above it, for we are still natural beings born of the Earth. We need to understand how connected we are to this place, and then cultivate that relationship with both enthusiasm and respectful deference.