[This is] what the Sioux Chief said when the tribe was watching the white men takes riches out of the Black Hills. "The whites think they are getting rich by digging in the hills, but the Sioux are rich from looking at the hills."
— Joyce Sequichie Hifler in When the Night Bird Sings by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Aren’t we fortunate to live in a commonwealth and an area filled with mountains and hills? I’ve been to North Dakota where there is nothing but flat as far as the eye can see. That state has its allure, but how I missed the variety of landscapes that come naturally to Pennsylvania.
This time of year, especially, the beautiful terrain of our area will soon be colored by fall foliage that is rich and beautiful with shades of red, orange, and yellow. Having said that, I’ve noticed that some of our maples suffer from some sort of blight that is causing their leaves to fall before they even change color. It saddens me to think that the anticipated fall display may be somewhat lessened due to disease.
We’ve become increasingly aware that plant and animal life in our world has been ravaged to some degree or another by climate change brought about by human greed. In our headlong pursuit to monetize practically anything imaginable, we have brought suffering and sickness upon this planet.
The quote from Joyce Sequichie Hifler begs the question, “What makes a people rich?” If we can no longer look upon our hills and see the jeweled colors of fall, will we count ourselves the poorer for it? Will we then struggle for words to explain to future generations what the mountains looked like on a clear, crisp day in autumn? Would words ever do such a scene justice?
I don’t know if such an occurrence will ever come to pass, but it does give a person pause. So many other marvels of nature are passing away that it’s not inconceivable that we in this area may witness losses of our own.
Psalm 121 asks the question, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?” The answer immediately follows, “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.…
The air, earth, and water are in need of our immediate and decisive action. Like the Sioux people who watched their sacred mountain being plundered, we too, are witness to landscapes and species of animals being wiped away in unprecedented numbers. Time is ticking as others are soon to join their ranks.
But there is help. With the help of God, we can stem the tide of death and do all we can to restore what we can to their rightful place on this earth. Ask for God’s guidance in choosing what part of creation you might be called to stand up for. And then follow through on the following practice from the Spirituality and Practice guide...
To Practice This Thought:
Do something to protect the richness of nature.