Post No. 6 As Far as the Eye Can See, (September 1, 2017), Bismarck, ND)
I suppose that anyone who has traveled here knows all of this, but since it is new to me, I write about seeing as far as the eye can see. When I say “as far as the eye can see” I’m not using the strict scientific definition of clear human vision. (There is some dispute, but eyes cannot see all that far clearly with or without flat land.) This is something less than clear, yet clear enough that something is seen. And with that kind of vision it cannot help but change the seer on the inside. At least, it is changing me.
After this many days on the road, good days on the road, I have lost track of any clear separation among the many striking things that we have seen. One of the phrases that keeps coming back again and again is that one about “as far as the eye can see.”
There is so much out here to treasure and to remember and to learn from. And that desire, to learn from it, was at least part of why I was writing these posts. But now that we are about to turn around and head toward the other direction, I’m wondering about what I can remember and learn from this experience. There is so much here that I don’t know what to do with it.
As a person who was born and lived most of my life on the West Coast, in Seattle, Shoreline and now Whidbey Island, it is becoming even clearer how much that land and those vistas are deeply built into who I am. I’m not at home here in ND. As beautiful as it is, and it is a strong beauty of its own, it’s not home.
Here, as far as the eye can see, the eye sees land, and sky and more land and more sky as though there were no end to either the land or the sky, as though there were no limits to how the land and the sky are used, abused, misused. I can “see” why someone here might not feel any urgency about protecting the land. There is so much land here; we wouldn’t miss a bit of it, if it were to be turned into an oil field – a coal mine – a highly chemicalized field of soy beans – a shopping mall – another track of houses…
Seeing all of this sparks a glimmer an of idea as to why people in a town of 91 people or maybe 486 people would be sure that if someone were to have an unwanted baby, someone else in town wants and needs a baby and the town REALLY needs people. Badly.
Life does not look the same out here as it does “back there.”
And, yet life is life, wherever we live it. Isn’t it?
Thanks be for this powerful land, For
all of the people who live here,
now and in the past.
For all of the creatures,
rivers and streams.
May we honor it.