A few days ago, my wife and I made a trip up canyon  to check out the Salmon River’s ice sculptures and winter work of Mother Nature. Barb,  later wrote down some of her thoughts which included the idea that the river is always giving, but needs a time to rest, where no boats ply her waters, or people disturb her respite. Like herself,  the river also deserves a time to de-stress, so she surmised.

I hadn’t thought about the river in that aspect before, but it did remind me again of recurring thoughts I often have  about how we humans always seem to find ways to describe anything in nature in anthropomorphic terms.  We have Mother Earth, for example. After all, our earth is a living thing (Gaia Hypothesis). We often refer to many things in nature as a “she.” The wind, she is a gale.  Her rapids were ferocious.

We make shapes out of many things in nature, (pareidolia)  from animal  constellations in the stars, to figurine human likenesses of wind sculptured rock, to variously familiar forms  our minds describe in clouds.  And we name places accordingly, such as “Mammy’s Other Nipple,” attribtued to a magical place on the Owyhee River in Oregon.

We give animal powers to human traits (animism) and design iconic mascots for our various athletic teams.  We work like a beaver, roar like a lion, run like a deer.  It seems we impose our humanity on every aspect of nature? Why do we do this? Is our dominance as man over nature, embedded somehow deep within our DNA? Perhaps with our more developed brains, and thereby a larger responsibility we have to other life forms we share the planet with, there is good reason we carry such traits.  Maybe it is what helps us harbor compassion for other things outside ourselves.  It helps us warm up nature, and lets us avoid thinking only in cold hard facts.

We humans like to live in fantasy worlds, dream our dreams, and believe in mystical thinking.   Some use drugs to escape or explore the depths of the mind. Others  need no such outside stimulants to travel to the outer limits of human comprehension.  But however, and wherever we go, we will most likely continue to cast our human shadow over all before us. The universe is our mirror to help us see who we are.  In part, it is we, ourselves,  that is the magical looking glass we use  when we look into the river’s many reflections.


The following video is Remarkable:

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