I’ve been pondering things. Specific things. For instance, things which can bring something positive to our lives but are also capable of bringing something negative as well. For me, I consider things like the four elements, animals and Harry Potter a good place to begin.
The four elements… let’s start with fire shall we?
I don’t know many who would reject the comfort that comes from a kick ass blazing fire on a cold night or the fun and companionship of sharing a bonfire and s’mores. Staring into a fire can elicit calmness and introspection but fire can also bring destruction. Forest fires, house fires, brush fires, just to name a few, can create terror, fear and heartbreak.
Water. Ahh water. The relief from a hot shower for tired, achy muscles or the relaxation of a dip in the pool can extinguish a bad mood. Is there not a certain awe and mystery toward ocean waves lapping at our feet knowing they may have touched distant, foreign shores and washed over some of the most magnificent finned creatures on earth? Beware, water can be terrifying as well. Floods, drowning and the ruination of vast amounts of property is devastating.
Air. Oh how I love a gentle breeze! My dogs love it too as it brings scents from far away that only they can detect. Perhaps they silently wonder why the aroma of home cooking passes gently on the breeze from other houses but rarely their own. Air, as necessary as it is for life, can take life as well. The angry relentless wind of hurricanes, tornadoes and typhoons can destroy everything its path.
Earth. Mother Earth. Holding us in the palm of her earthly hands she keeps us grounded and reminds us that we are in her care. Make no mistake, she gets angry and reminds us we have much to lose. Her cries go unheard and she rumbles, shakes and spews out fire in an attempt to get our attention.
When I ponder things in my life that can be both wonderful and/or scary, guess what pops into my mind first? Learning. (I know right? How can learning be both wonderful and frightening?) I love to learn. It’s one of the most important parts of my life. It feels good to learn something new but it can also be quite unsettling because it forces change and growth and this can be destructive to old ways of life. This does not mean everything has to go to hell in a handbasket but it might seem that way at first.
The bottom line is once you learn something you can’t unlearn it and this can change we mindlessly enjoy into something painful. What we learn changes us.
For instance I can’t unlearn the significance of bees to our environment and that we are losing them at an alarming rate and in devastatingly huge numbers. For the longest time I had no idea about this problem but once I learned I couldn’t go back. It was time to stop looking at dandelions as the enemy and also lay off the pesticides and other poisons that are destroying our bees. This knowing has drastically altered how we handle pest control on our property. Simple yet dramatic lesson. Bees are da bomb.
I can’t unlearn what I’ve discovered about animals in factory farms. I can’t “unknow” the agony, terror and confusion they suffer and this has changed me and how I look at the food I eat. Painful learning but necessary.
I can’t unlearn how soul crushing it is to keep animals captive for our entertainment. I’ve said it before, animals should not be forced to carry the burden of entertaining us. That is not why they are here.
On a more positive note, I cannot unlearn that animals have souls. They have the spirit and wisdom of the ancients and they know far more than we can grasp. It is fascinating and awe inspiring. They are here to journey beside us and teach us, not to pad our wallets or perform on demand (don’t get me started.) One of the most beautiful things about animals is not only do they have so much to share but they are willing to do so with the very species that exploits them. And it’s not just four-legged animals; it is fish, reptiles, birds and bugs oh my! Every living thing has something to teach us and these wonderful lessons cannot be unlearned.
On a final note (you were wondering when I’d get to the Harry Potter portion of the program weren’t you?)…I’ve learned that there is nothing wrong with waiting over a decade to watch your first Harry Potter movie. It’s okay not to know how Voldemort breathes through that nose or what in the name of Hogworts a muggle is. What I can’t unlearn is that these movies suck you in until you watch every_single_one of them and now you’re excited about this Harry Potter phenomenon and everyone else has moved on. Bloody hell!
Lucky for us the magic never dies and neither does the learning.