The Wonder of Life

by Bill Duesing

First broadcast on WSHU/WSUF-FM, December 24, 1999

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 its 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.

Carbon dioxide (from our smokestacks and tailpipes)

  and methane (given off by colonies of termites in
  the tropics, as well as by 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.
Termite mounds participate in the birth-growth-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 are reflections of

  the miricle and wonder of life.
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 © 1999 by WSHU-FM, Fairfield, CT, and by Bill Duesing.