The Wonder of Life

by Bill Duesing

First broadcast on WSHU/WSUF-FM, December 22, 1995

The wonder of it, of the season, is life.
A birth, any birth, is into life-
the fantastic variety of life, that covers our planet
and no where else we know

children and wise women, sheep and hollies,
blue green algae and maples, rhododendron and catfish,
It is life-
grandparents and spruce trees,
the bacteria in our mouths and the whales in the oceans-
It is all life-

Complex, interdependent relationships covering the Earth,
connecting the nearly invisible with the enormous,
each living thing providing an environment for millions of other living things:
The mycrorhizea on the roots of beech trees and the flora in our intestines.

Earthworms, cows, cousins, nemetodes, oaks and mushrooms, each occupying a niche, each dependent on others.

An unbroken chain of evolving genetic information passed down for a billion years, connecting all living things to a common past as surely as all species are connected to all others through the atmosphere which is inside every body and every green leaf.

We all get our food and get rid of our wastes on the same planet.

The cycle of life is birth-growth-death and decomposition for recycling-
making way for more life,
releasing stored nutrients for the good of life.

This continual cycling takes place in the energy flow of the sun.

Dandelions, plankton, wolves, eagles, pines, raccoons and honeybees-
it is all life.

An incredible profusion of living things working together
to make the Earth habitable.
Just like the bacteria which inhabit the surfaces of our bodies and the lichen
which decompose rocks,
life changes and regulates its environment.
The rain forests and the algae on the ocean surface regulate the climate.
The air, soil, water and rocks are created or modified by life.
The composition of the atmosphere has co-evolved slowly over a billion years with life on Earth.
In a very tiny fraction of the Earth's history,
we have used our mechanical prowess
to change the composition very rapidly.
Our fossil fuel, beef and forest clear-cut habits are reversing the evolution of the atmosphere,
adding methane and carbon dioxide that were removed millions of years ago as the environment evolved to one where we could live.
With our high energy lifestyles and our mechanical thinking (produce and consume),
we are rapidly changing the environment
into one where we won't be able to live.

The carbon dioxide from our smokestacks and tailpipes and the methane given off by colonies of termites in the tropics, and the colonies that bacteria have established in the bellies of cows, are both greenhouse gases.

We know the probable effect of our waste gases and should be wise enough to make intelligent choices.

The termite mounds participate in the birth, death, and decomposition cycle in a way that smokestacks and tail pipes do not.

Turkeys, oysters, fine cheeses and wines,
breads and broccoli,
It is all life,
Yeasts, green plants and animals,
nourishing us as we nourish them,
passing down their genetic information
with our culture.

We know the enemies of life:
war, pesticides, high energy radiation, clear-cut forestry, asphalt
and lives lived as if disconnected from the environment.

We have the capacity for the wisdom to make sensible decisions.
We should design a world which puts priority on important and doable things:
feeding, clothing, housing, educating, healing and loving.

The miracle and wonder of a birth is a reflection of the miricle and wonder of life on Earth.
We need to cherish the whole interconnected web of life on Earth in the same way we cherish our family and friends this season.

Happy Solstice

This is Bill Duesing, Living on the Earth

This page and its contents are copyright © 1995-1997 by WSHU-FM, Fairfield, CT, and by Bill Duesing.