Last week, I viewed the film…Never Cry Wolf once again. It had been awhile since I’ve seen this film. The main character, a Canadian biologist named Tyler, is flown on a small bush plane and dropped off in the vast, wild and white unknown of the Canadian Arctic wilderness. His job is to discover why the caribou population is declining. It is believed that the wolf packs are eliminating the caribou and so he is there to study the feeding habits of the wolves.
This time, a few things struck me as I watched this film. The vastness of the wilderness contrasted the minuteness of man. There was the wild beauty of the scenery. Then, when a nomadic Inuit man rescues Tyler, I got a sense of the land as experienced by its native inhabitants. They are in a deep, daily conversation with their environment . They have to be! Growing up there, steeped in the traditions of their people, their own interactions with the climate, geography and the animals upon which they directly depend for their clothing, food and shelter…this added another dimension to the story for me.
In his book, Earth in Balance, Al Gore, politician and environmentalist, discusses how we have been taught “to live so separately from nature that we feel so utterly dependent upon our civilization, which has seemingly taken nature’s place in meeting all our needs.” Gore elaborates:
“The food on the supermarket shelves, the water in the faucets in our homes, the shelter and sustenance, the clothing and purposeful work, our entertainment, even our identity–all these our civilization provides, and we dare not even think about separating ourselves from such beneficence.”
Yet, there are natural laws that supersede government provisions. We are disconnected from the natural environment and because of this, we don’t have a real understanding of our place within nature…as John Muir has said “Nature includes us.”
An excerpt from a metaphorical
poem I wrote concerning this vital relationship:
If I don’t know my mother,
how will I care for her
when she is ill and nearly used up?
Why would I sing her sweet lullabies
or hold unrecognizable her in my lap,
rock her into recovery?
If I don’t see that she’s ailing,
or that we’re even related,
why would I pause in my hectic life,
seek her out and say
I love you, I’ll look after you now.
Why would I care if she is a stranger
and I don’t talk to strangers?