Every time I tell this story it takes on a different form.
The non-human land and air creatures of the world were alarmed and frightened by the world being on fire. Each species and form sent a representative to gather in a secluded valley visited by rain, with a river running into the ocean. This location was chosen so that the ocean and river creatures could also be represented. At the gathering of the non-humans there was a huge cacophony of sound, laments, blaming, cries of anguish that the world was coming to an end – and much desperation. Beyond this verdant valley the world was on fire. Then all the creatures gradually grew quiet and lapsed into silence as they observed Hummingbird. Hummingbird flew to the river and took a drop of water in her beak. He flew to the fire and dropped it on the flames. Back to the water, picking up a drop of water, flying to the fire and dropping it. On she went, relentless and unstoppable – flying to the river for a drop of water then flying to the fire and dropping it on the flames. All the creatures were astounded. Finally Bear shouted “Hummingbird, what do you think you are doing?” Hummingbird flew to the river for another drop of water and dropped it onto the flames. As she flew back to the river, he hovered for a moment in front of Bear and said – “The Best I Can.”
What is the best that you can do dear reader?
What is the best that I can do?
What is the best that our political and corporate leaders can do?
For the latter to emerge requires that we hold our leaders to account, and citizen activism on an unprecedented scale is necessary for that. This is essential for the younger generation just coming into maturity and responsibility. My generation has not left a healthy and viable planetary eco-niche for them to live in. I offer a deep and humble apology to them for that neglect. I ask of my generation of environmentalists, activist and organizers that they transfer their skills and knowledge to the younger generation. To be mentors for the generation that has to do the heavy lifting to put things right on planet earth. I will not be around to see the changes. Yet I do posses a modicum of confidence.
When I look at young people, I see beyond the ipods, electronic gadgetry and attitude to the deep intelligence that yearns for something better. I love their in-your-face attitude, as that is the energy of determination that will drive them to put things into balance on Gaia. They are not caught so readily by the identities and trade-offs that my generation is so good at entertaining. They are breaking down the barriers of discrimination, storming the barricades of separation. I have only one thing to ask of them. That they slow down for a moment and hold out their hand. For as long as I have a spark in this mind and a
breath in this body – Take my hand for I am going with you!
Ian Prattis is a Zen teacher and author www.ianprattis.com