Saturday, March 7, 2015

From My Nature Journal: Mine!

A stout gray squirrel marks territory, tail twittering, scent released.

“My space,” it decrees as it jumps from place to place, barely pausing, frenetic.

“My domain. My stuff. Scram. My realm. Keep out. I possess this. It’s all mine. Get outta here. Trespassers beware! Mine, mine, mine.” We can almost imagine the squirrel’s agitated movements, seemingly obsessive
activities, and busy preoccupations as each neurotically saying these in turn. “All mine!”

But the concept is neither consigned to the wild creature nor limited to the animal kingdom. Is it any wonder the word ‘mine’ is one of the first a child tends to learn?

                                                     How different this child?
From top to bottom -- red, gray
and Abert's squirrels

I kid myself, say I am content and have need of nothing, that possessions do not possess me. “I don’t need much, just a humble place to lay my head,” I pontificate. But then I find myself expanding that a bit. “Oh, and I wouldn’t mind if that humble place were a big piece of land. Hmmm… a big view would really be great, too… And since I’m thinking about it, I hope I have the means to explore and exploit it, and that others won’t get in my way...” How quickly my peaceful repose gets tossed out the window.

Or I practice a variant of the above. “Wow, this is a beautiful piece of land. I wonder if it’s for sale and if I could ever afford to own it...” Of course, it’s a ridiculous thought – how much land does a person need, after all? Does he even need any if public land abounds?

Oh, Contentment, you elusive thing, you…

I am reminded of a few lines from a treasured John Leax poem, My Delight, and pray, “Lord, may these words that follow truly be ‘mine.’”

What harmony within Yourself
Led You to make Your pleasure
And my needs be one?

What awful purpose then
Led You to place
Your pleasure in my keeping?

What discord now tempts me to
Seize what You have made and
Call it mine?...

With these words affirming my delight,
I yield my inclination to name my own
What can be only Yours.

Let my delight be as it must:
Yours and Yours alone.

~~RGM, from an earlier March journal entry
after hiking around Omaha’s Lake Zorinsky,
adapted for my blog March 6, 2015

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