A mother and baby Moose pass through the camp of resting Wolves.
A Grizzly Bear winds his way among a herd of mother-calf Cows.
A Puma walks alongside a group of Deer grazing at dusk.
A Lion plays with a Warthog of his own age.
A man strolls to a river’s cool to nap with the Lions at his side.
Another man watches over the children of a wild Brown Bear.
Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, listening.
These cameos provide a glimpse of the substrate of life where people like Charlie Russell, Gordon Haber and George Adamson lived. They were not distracted by the hustle and bustle of the material world. Instead, they rooted their lives in the listening quiet to see into Nature’s eyes. It is how and why they understood Bears, Wolves, and Lions for whom they really are. It is why, more than ever, we need take the lessons of quantum physics to heart.
When subatomic particles with minds of their own were discovered more than a century ago, modern humans received an incomparable gift – insight into the true nature of Nature. Quantum physics told us that matter doesn’t really matter or rather it does, but it is secondary to what lies within. The tangible world we occupy in its dazzling, myriad guises is window dressing, the explicit expression of what physicist David Bohm called the implicit world. In the comfortable, collectively-sanctioned language of scientific symbols and equations, quantum physics gave us proof of what Charlie and the Bears, Gordon Haber and the Wolves, George Adamson and the Lions, and Mary and Jesus experienced.
We do not need, however, to rely solely on science, nor the word of Charlie, George, and Mary. We only need to reflect on our own experience: the smiling eyes of our Dog, the gentle touch of our Cat, the gasp in awe of a breaching Whale, the joy of a frolicking Horse. These are all visits to the quantum world. These are visits to the world within where all beings meet and live. But brief staycation excursions are not enough. The very fundaments of human culture need to be redirected into this terrain.
The sign posts offered by science, Bears, Lions, Wolves, and their human companions provide vital steps pointing to the path of Earth’s restoration and our own. If we truly cherish the Animals with whom we live, if we truly value the Animals and Forests for whom we stridently advocate, then we must cast aside the security of living at a distance and, like Charlie, Gordon, Mary, and George, dare to become as vulnerable, dare to face the quantum reality, and in so doing, revel in full-bodied living with Animal kin. This is true accompaniment.
Haber, G. & Holleman, M. (2013). Among Wolves: Gordon Haber’s Insights into Alaska’s Most Misunderstood Animal. University of Alaska Press.
Adamson, G. (1986). My Pride and Joy. Simon & Schuster.
Bradshaw, G. A. (2020). Talking with Bears: Conversations with Charlie Russell. Rocky Mountains Books.
New Revised Standard Version. Luke 10:38–42.
Bohm, D. (2005). Wholeness and the implicate order. Routledge.
Watkins, M. (2019). Mutual Accompaniment and the Creation of the Commons. Yale University Press.
~ Dedicated to Tommy ~
Photo credit: Jeff and Sue Turner
Mariposa Reflections is a weekly e-post paired with Mariposa Meditations, a biweekly online Nature mindfulness and meditation gathering. Sign up here to receive weekly Mariposa Reflections. Learn more and register for Mariposa Meditations here.