|Great Blue Heron Flying By: posted by Kitty Riley Kono|
There's an impressive Great Blue Heron hanging around these parts this summer that has everyone talking. The splendid bird fishes along the edges of the old cow pond here behind the chapel. Last week the heron flew up in the air vertically and majestically when I approached a little too quickly. Sometimes I see it flying low over the wide stream that winds around the property. It follows the stream through the tunnel of trees, and if you are close enough, you can hear the whoosh of its wings which I'd guess are nearly six feet across, tip to tip.
Sometimes, if we're wide-awake, we can see or hear or smell something that is so arresting in beauty, we might sense there's a tear in the veil between heaven and earth or between the visible and invisible. Seeing the heron is like that.
But this beauty is always fragile and threatened. We're daft ~ destroying our paradise home faster than ever. Like insects: chewing up, devouring, invading whatever-wherever we want, no matter how beautiful or essential to our common life (like clean water and air). Indeed, Pope Francis has said that we are turning the planet into a rubbish heap. Turning it inside out: taking everything out of the earth, using it, then leaving it on the surface changed into garbage.
And then (get this!) having utterly exploited, wasted and raped this home, we expect that God will give us another - maybe even better. We might call it heaven. As if God is some kind of divine enabler who happily supplies a second toy when the first is ruined or lost. And if we don't believe in God, and having learned nothing, we might imagine that somewhere out there is yet another planet where, if we're rich enough or powerful enough, we can escape to when this lovely place is used up and dead.
There's a TV show on these days about a guy who travels the world in search of the places he wants us to see, "before they're gone". That's sad: "before they're gone." It's sad too that there are folks who deny any of this. But they're the ones who have the most money to lose if real planet-saving change were to take place.
In his recent encyclical, Laudato si, Pope Francis seems to suggest we have a little window of opportunity for change. But he's also clear, that if we're going to make it happen, we all have a part to play.