The Tempest

Reading Terry Tempest Williams’ “Finding Beauty in a Broken World.” And am — again — reminded about what I love in this woman’s writing, which draws little boundary between her external “natural” world and her internal world — both flow together seamlessly.

Her meditation about prairie dogs. (I remember visiting a colony near a childhood home, in Clovis, N.M., where horned toads and lizards roamed under their watchful “barks.”)

Most people are not comfortable making a connection between racism and specism or the ill treatment of human beings and the mistreatment of animals. We want to keep our boundaries clean and separate. But isn’t that the point, to separate, isolate, and discriminate? We create hierarchies, viewing life from the top down, top being, of course, God, then a ranking of human races, and so our judgments move down ‘the Great Chain of Being’ until we touch rocks. This is the attitude of power, and it hinges on who is in control. Who has power over whom? How does this kind of behavior infiltrate the psyche of a culture? And what are the consequences of scala naturae?

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