Alone sitting on a large boulder in a shallow woods, I pressed my hand into a worn hollow where centuries ago Indian women ground corn. The stone stood on high ground giving them and me the ability to see the harbor where once Indian warriors rode birch bark canoes. They used them for fishing and for times when the need to defend tribal land became necessary.
Oh I know in the troubled time I live in Indians are no more. They’ve been replaced with Native Americans. Except technically they weren’t. They too traveled to the American continent across an ice age created land bridge from the eastern most part of the Eurasian continent.
Honestly there were no Native Americans. Unless you count the thousands of species of flora and fauna that were native.
I thought all this while I dripped water from a plastic bottle into the indentation were my fingers gently brushed the smooth stone surface. Yes plastic. Apparently we are stuck buying these still. I have metal but what I sought left me no time to return and get one. Time is after all a luxury.
So the mercy I sought through retreat into a once welcoming place slipped like oil from my grasp.
I’ve often felt myself fortunate. So many I once knew no longer walk this earth. One of those was a woman who would frequently discover me sitting in this same place seeking solace not mercy. She was kind and gentle. A warm smile a caring heart. But that was all many years past. She died in a car crash on a rainy night while driving home.
After a while I stopped checking on people I once knew. Some I loved. The number of those who died became a staggering heart rending fractured mercy.
I wonder now, the water bottle empty, if the Indian women who shared this boulder with me experienced the same loss. Time passing changes very little when you remove the trappings surrounding you.
Stripped of possessions, removal of what we call modernity, leaves us standing as all those before us. One human alone to face life, with or without its mercy. Of course, we can no longer walk into a forest where life abounds. We modern humans showed nature nothing but fractured mercy, at best. We cut down forests at a staggering rate of 25 acres per minute, 24/7.
The ones we called ancients stood a vastly better chance at survival then I would today if left to my own devices in the shallow wilderness that remains. Even though I am trained for such survival.
Honestly, we humans stand on the brink of our own extinction and we ignore it. We may be aware of its slow steady approach, but take the attitude that we won’t be alive when it happens so I’m getting everything I can now. Why? What will you do with it? It too is a burden.
Extinction shows no mercy.