do we hear the hills scream as man strips them bare?

that's me, hiking towards the majestic and powerful Gulfoss Waterfalls in Iceland. 

photo by Jennifer Picard Photography.

"do the hills listen when we cry out in pain? and if they care not for us, then why should we care for them? if they remain silent, then are they not ours for the taking, to benefit all of man and all that we dare to dream and do? why else would they be there, if not for us to use as we please?”

this is what the men of business ask as they search for reasons to excuse their ruinous deeds; all for the sake of growth, development, and industry.

but, do we hear the hills scream as man strips them bare? and would we ever listen, if indeed they did?

do we feel the ocean's anguish when we pull its life out, with nets cast from the sides of boats, under the safe harbours of profit? and what of the trees and all the woodlings they shelter? do we hear their lament when we up uproot their home? and what of the once pristine jungles, with nature's medicine for all of mankind? what price do we pay when the wonders they behold can be found no more? and what of the grasses and the wetlands, shall we just flatten them all, for summer homes and timeshares too? 

if we are birthed from the Earth, then what is our responsibility to it? are we not to be its shepherd, to protect it from harm, to be by its side at any and all times?

why is it that the false profits of man, those intangible finances that are nothing more than our mental projections and manifestations, seem to outweigh that which will outlast us all, the Earth itself.

what fools are we? what madness has befallen us, to place paper notes of fictional value, adorned with the portraits of the heads of state, before the beauty, wonder, and awe of our natural world?

economics be damned; our financial construct is a falsely made form. it is not real, despite the divine reverence man adorns upon it.

our society complains of its emptiness, of its lack of meaning, of its cultural ills, of its sickness, of its frustrations with never having enough. we place all our energy and attention into false profits, and so our love is wasted, misspent, and misplaced, and it leaves us reeling for more.

and so we buy more, and consume more, and eat more, and hate more, all while we endlessly look over our shoulders, always comparing ourselves to the next, always competing, always racing down to the bottom, only to find ourselves wondering, "how did we ever manage to fall down, so deep and so low?"

and then we find ourselves alone and scrambling in the barren dirt, with no roots left to cling to, with no branches remaining to help us climb back up. 

it seems to be mankind's tendency to yearn for that which we just destroyed, to be so singleminded, without ever looking forward.

this is not the natural currency of man. 

we must rise above the madness of consumption, callousness, and destruction. we must allow ourselves to feel the immutable love of existence itself, of all life, even the dirt, moss and rocks. we must embrace it fully, while being just and kind to all of creation, not just when we need it.

we must reciprocate what Mother Earth has already done for us across all of the millennia; we must be loving, to all things under this umbrella that is our global bio-sphere. 

only through compassion, care and mindful, forward intention can we heal the gaping wounds made from man's endless wanting. only love can heal the hate of our greed and gluttonous actions. 

it begins with each and everyone of us. be the love, let’s not strip our rare Earth bare.

brian thompson

** this was written while flying over Greenland at 37,000 ft., en route to Iceland, while in reflection on a mountain hillside that i recently saw being stripped bare for a big new development, close to my home.