Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All Life Is Sacred

This past Sunday I gave a talk-cum-reading on my experiences as an organic grower of food. It was delivered to an audience of some fifty or so First Unitarian Church attendees in Toronto as part of a discussion on “Why Consumers Are Choosing Organics”. I was one of four speakers, the others being Sarah Dobec of The Big Carrot, Jodi Koberinski of the Organic Council of Ontario, and Tanmayo Krupanszky of the Toronto chapter of Canadian Organic Growers.

I really am unaccustomed to public speaking. Only truly at both my dear parents’ passings have I bellied up to do so, then too addressing mostly churchgoers. It is a measure of my passion for organics and the engagement of the public that I chose to take up Unitarian Allen Goldfeder’s invitation to speak at this event. I get nervous, would be more comfortable just reading from a prepared text, but – in the interest of conveying passion – prefer to talk directly to the audience whilst reading. This doesn’t come easy, especially when having to consider the proximity of the microphone and the steady drying up of the mouth. I am not a ready talker, preferring to read, listen, write, and inwardly mull.

Back in my comfort zone of the greenhouse this morning, fork turning over the moist thawing soil and extracting stubborn grasses around the perimeter prior to planting, insightful thoughts come to me. I confess to not being a churchgoer. However, there is something about the questing goodly spirit of those with faith that do worship regularly at the house of God that I admire. Tanmayo related her talk on organics to Love, Faith, and Hope, in turn. Nobody can argue with the value of these virtues.

I do find myself in life always casting around and digging for truth and meaning. I generally find it in honesty, ethical conduct, love, respect, and acting on these principles. In her primeval essence, it is Nature that is my guide. Some thirty years ago, Gundi and I were married by a lovely man called Dr. Dixon. At the time, he was a retired professor of biology at the University of Guelph and a Unitarian minister happy to come out to where we chose to wed. I always remember him saying that he believed that “Human Life is Sacred” and revered him for this. Over the years, it has become apparent to me that all natural life is sacred, in that we need to sustain living populations in all their wondrous diversity.

We, as humans, share this miracle of Life, this Planet with multitudes of other species, other beings that are alive for a short time on this Earth, just as we are. In the twinkling of an eye we are conceived, live our lives inhaling the swirling dynamic forces that have evolved here, then we evaporate into the afterlife, whose nature is full of promise, an unknown quantity, or an eternal void, depending on our faith. Whether we believe in one God, many Gods, or no god at all, it seems to me that our duty while we are alive in the here and now is to respect, honour, and love our earthly home and those we co-exist with, be they animal, vegetable, or mineral. Nature in whatever form will surely inhabit this planet long after our own species has driven itself also to the brink of extinction, and maybe beyond.