Our dying planet

The Alliance of World Scientists have issued their second dire warning about the state of our earth, 25 years after their first stern warning issued in 1992. The scientists have collected and analyzed data about our planet and things have become worse, since their initial findings published over 2 decades ago. We are killing flora and fauna and other living creatures at a furious pace, and this destruction is unsustainable, for a living planet. Billions of years of evolution of species are being wiped out, in our thirst for water, food and our own human habitation. .

“Global climate change sits atop the new letter’s list of planetary threats. Global average temperatures have risen by more than half a degree Celsius since 1992, and annual carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 62 percent.

But it’s far from the only problem people face. Access to fresh water has declined, as has the amount of forestland and the number of wild-caught fish (a marker of the health of global fisheries). The number of ocean dead zones has increased. The human population grew by a whopping 2 billion, while the populations of all other mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by nearly 30 percent.” They have reported.

The scientists have come up with 13 suggestions for a greener planet and more sustainable practices, which we need to adopt. We need a vigorous debate on each of their propositions now, as if we wait another 25 years, things will not magically become better. Our consumption patterns have to change dramatically to bring about a brave new world. If we shy away from this responsibility our children and grandchildren will never forgive us. The time to act is now before more waterways, forests and myriad species disappear forever. We live in a time of great scientific discovery and new technologies are developed every day. From this complexity of science we have to develop a simple method to live and let live. The 1% control our economic reality, but should we let them control the destiny of our planet also?

The self-righteousness of our super rich and inflated egos of our political leaders, are leading us down a path of death, destruction and ruin.  If a butterfly does not flap its wings in China any more, will my grandchild still see a rosy sunrise? I fear for our future and can only hope to awaken our consciousness, towards compassion and love. There is much we still have to do and only if we take a stand to do what is right and reduce our wanton consumption, will we be able to save our earth and its creatures. I want my grandchildren to walk barefoot on the dewy grass in the morning, and watch the cottontails playing in our yard. I want them to see the swans living in our lake, and not stuffed in some museum. Maybe I have too much faith in our humanity, as science does not lie.

“For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner … on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. … That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that.” -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (9 Nov 1934-1996)

Great Banyan story

By Biswarup Ganguly – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12679235

Long have the mystics I have studied instructed followers to stay away from Anger, Lust, Greed and things unnatural. They have all advocated that life has enough to offer without needing any artificial enhancement. In a world of plenty we need to get closer to mother nature and our origins. There are so many wonders around us that we can lead a full life, without having to travel to exotic locations. If we want to travel to exotic locations, then there is no harm, in that either. We just have to follow our own path, and not let life just happen to us. We can pick any path our heart desires, and proceed along it, to a goal, or a state of being. We must seek joy, happiness and mirth in everyday situations. If we are happy now with what we have, then start giving the extra stuff away. To live like a mystic, is to not have attachment, and hence one does not accumulate anything. One lives and discovers wonders of the world like, the Great Banyan tree as life progresses. Let me tell you a little more about the wonder of this tree:

A 255-year-old Great Banyan at the Indian Botanic Garden, Shibpur, has increased its girth by a massive two acres in a little over 30 years, from 3 acres in 1985. The Great Banyan lost its main trunk long ago after surviving two cyclones. The tree is now balanced on its growing new roots. The new roots seem to be walking east towards the sun. It is also the direction away from human habitation in the city and its pollution. 4 senior botanists and their assistants take care of the Great Banyan ensuring its health, and have built a new barrier around it. This is a remarkable tree like the Redwoods in California. They are massive and live for centuries yet this covers far more space. It continues to flourish and has grown into the largest single canopy, on earth.

We must praise nature as the more we take care of it, the more it gives back to us. We must take care of the fauna and the flora, of our native lands. Like the huge store in Norway of all the world’s seeds is good for preservation, but there is no sight like looking up from the base of tall Sequoias; and wondering how tall the trees were, as one could not possibly see the top of the trees? The real life is in our fields, our forests, our woods, our lakes, our rivers, our mountains and our oceans. They have to be nourished and cared for, by an army of people, to make them whole again. We have taken and destroyed so much, that we have to take a joint exercise, just to count the tigers, living in Nepal and India. The numbers are low, and preservation is just starting to work, and a lot of work still needs to be done to preserve the jungle species. They need their own habitats with grazing lands, rivers, woods to continue to do what nature does best. Life is to be enjoyed in its enormity and not in narrow dogmas preached for human consumption. We have become very powerful and with power also comes great responsibility. Let us use our powers wisely, to grow ourselves, and allow others to prosper also, as there is a whole universe still to explore. If we must dream then let us dream big like the Great Banyan!

We become what we desire

Very early on I was given to understand that I would never be an emperor of India. I was all of 12 and dreamed all the dreams that Alexander the Great (my hero) would have dreamed, at my age. The tall Qutub Minar towered proud above me after all these centuries in the gardens of Delhi. Gardens and monuments surrounded me from the early Sultanates of India. None was more powerful than the Slave Dynasty that established Muslim rule in India. Ruling from Delhi they conquered the Indus rich lands and a large part of the Gangetic valley and prospered. The pillar was of course much older and had fascinated me for years in its height and girth.

The Ashokan Pillar marks an older tradition of Buddhism, in India. This rust less iron pillar is ascribed to emperor Ashok and was part of his many edicts and signposts, laying down the rules of Dharma. Those rules had been long largely discarded, in the India I grew up in; and long consigned, to the pages of history. Modern Indian politics of Independent India, has been turned towards a new national identity. I had stood with my back resting against the pillar, preparing myself. I looked up at the beautiful carved stone archways, left over from a past kingdom. Vainly I tried to reach around my back, and grasp both hands. Soon I knew that there was no hope, as I was short. Maybe if I had been two feet taller with longer arms, then it may have been easier as the pillar did seem to taper slightly, from the broad base where I stood, reaching our blindly.

The one thing Ashok and Buddha consistently talked about was that compassion and contentment are noble attributes. The sooner we acquire them the easier is our trip to Nirvana. We must not follow our desires as like Lucy in the Sky with diamonds they can never be satisfied in our lifetime. We can take a strange trip of chasing all our desires in a distorted reality, or one with all ones lucidity and love. Just contentment stops a lot of things from happening – mostly with positive results. We do not seek, so are not disappointed, and also do not have any guilt of missing the next high. Desires continue to flourish in our imagination as human beings desire more and more as the world unfolds before us. Every new vision or revelation makes us children again reaching out for a newer shinier toy.

Some seek God and salvation in narrow beliefs and blind faith, while others like the Isa Upanishad say God is in everything so nothing is ours and it is all His, so renounce and enjoy. Buddha did not destroy desires but he found a path we could follow, which would help us overcome becoming trapped in this world of Maya and endless rebirth leading to a state of Nirvana. Great saints have all proclaimed the supremacy of their God and shown paths to serve Him as in the prayer of Saint Francis to his Lord to, “make me an instrument of your peace.”   The end result of many of these learned beings is the concept of Sangha or society that is equal and everyone works for its betterment. God does not dwell in Churches. Temples or Mosques but in each of us and his laws do not differentiate between rich and poor. Follow your Dharma or beliefs and you will find the right path.

So to conclude we remain largely the slaves of our desires. We indulge in more ways to enjoy them and seek the company of those who are followers of the same path. The Germans did not start off as evil under Hitler but they took his beliefs to an extreme and became evil. Similarly we need to ensure we seek contentment versus the fulfillment of all our desires. Desires come and go and we need to be in harmony with nature. The universe has forces far larger and stronger than us puny men trapped on this blue planet. We are only as great as our belief and so seek higher living and thinking. When we destroy whole species of flora or fauna, we are destroying a little bit of ourselves. We have the power to create a new world, full of goodness and hope. Seek to live righteously, as in the end all of us must die.

The Path in the Woods

There is a path in the woods, which I believe leads to change. We must all seek this path, as to stay stagnant is to slowly die away. We do not know what we will find on this path, as we are not sure what we want. We must seek the path and follow it to where it leads, as that is why we are here. We were not given this life to only rot in our internal turmoil, and not seek what is freely given. We are free to explore and find the meaning of life in our own way. We must change to find love, compassion, balance and life itself.

There are many paths I have walked on and many more left for me to explore. I am angry about many I have taken in the past, as they took me to misery and pain. I am anxious about the ones I have to take in the future, as they are unknown and may lead to even more pain and sorrow. The one I am on now is the best, as I know exactly where I stand and also know, where it is taking me. I know my love is with me and I have compassion in my heart for all creatures, on this path. I am blessed to feel this passion for life, as it drives me to move faster and seek more. Love is boundless and compassion expands our hearts even more and we attain happiness, when we experience joy in even the smallest of happenings.

As we change so does our life and our path to joy. This path of happiness is so subtle that we have to experience it, to understand the true meaning of life. Many a year has gone by when we did not know what our life was meant to be. Many a day I was lost and many a night I cried that this meaningless life, was better off without me. Pain and suffering surrounded me and all that was dear was forlorn, and all that was near, was just a reminder of my past failures. How could I continue to live and I withdrew into my skin and dared not look, feel, or reach out around me, afraid of human emotion and touch.

Then one day I met a person who had nothing and was happy and laughing at the world. He was ugly, poor, disabled and had no economic future, yet he was happy to meet me and laughed at me, for what I had become. He had known me when I was young and lively and the whole world was within my grasp, and he had been the same. Now I was morose and even though I had everything, he told me I did not value what was given to me. I looked into the twinkle in his eyes and realized I was looking in a mirror of time, and wondered why I would let myself become him.

I learnt a lesson that day and now every day, I walk fearlessly on a new path and find all that my heart desires and more….

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die.”- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

One world to live

For some of us who may not remember we are all creatures of this earth with no special privileges; but a lot of responsibility towards nature and our world and the state of our universe. Some say the original sin cast humans out of the Garden of Eden and from then on, men have killed each other, for myriad reasons. All religions have suffered their great wars and destruction at one time or another, and some have gone on to become stronger. The devout use them to do charitable work and spread knowledge, compassion and love through their chapters. Religion is the comfort of millions in their times of need and personal darkness in this life.

Peace as described by Lennon seemed a possible worldwide phenomenon, which we should all strive to. We all share this earth and have to live and die on it for the most part. We can use to live in harmony with nature and our fellow creatures, or in a war with our environment and fellow human beings. The choices are plentiful and a person can use his own path, in the time given to him, to live. Many paths lead to salvation and knowledge and each one of us adapts to our environment to survive. More people have been lifted out of poverty in the past decades than ever done in the history of mankind, yet much more remains to be done.

Politicians of course do not see the world as one huge family but rise to power by distinguishing their own followers, from all the other inhabitants. Their message has to be one to rouse their fellow political leaders of division and exclusion, and inclusion only of their chosen followers. Their survival depends on the borders of their city, province, state or nation. They have to keep strengthening them with like minded people by love and other monetary or social coercion. To those who do not follow their philosophy they have a policy of exclusion by outright neglect, or even division of the state into smaller pieces. Others bravely expand by violence or influence into larger states and form new political alliances.

The word hegemony by large powerful states, is as ancient as human history. As different races emerged, they chose different areas of this world to settle upon by an accident of history. Languages and cultures emerged to live and die, with the ancient empires. Even today in our modern world this countries and states, form the backbone of our great civilizations. There is an innate pride amongst the people of different countries in their heritage and civilization. People become citizens of where they are born, and inherit into the house of worship they are born, in a divine throw of the dice. Brothers who are separated at birth, will swear allegiance to the different faith, and go to war on their beliefs, as each is righteous in his learned belief. In the sad irony of our times fate allows humans to rape the women, kill the children, and cause mass misery and genocide often in the name of race, religion or greed.

We have to awaken our inner conscious and strive to be humans of this earth, rather than parochial and mean. We are creatures of a greater future, and should not let our past guide us. If we were wrong in our approach n the past, we have still time to change it. We must march forward, with a new vision and hope. Please learn to embrace the differences of others customs and beliefs. Celebrate our festivals together, and learn joy and harmony over fear and hate. My fellow creatures are also dear to me and the flora and fauna has to be better preserved. We have to leave our earth richer for our children, and not poorer.  We are only the custodians of this Garden of Eden, and must learn to turn it back into that wonderful place, on this blue planet. We all laugh, cry, celebrate, live and die together in our mother earth’s bosom and can all become friends.

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” -Maya Angelou, poet (4 Apr 1928-2014)

Rig Veda – First Verse

Today I spent time studying the first verse of the over 1,200 verses in the first of our four Vedas, commonly known as the Rig Veda. When in doubt, wise men have told me to try and go to the source of the doubt. So I sought out the most ancient chant in our tradition. What could an ancient verse that survived many millennia in a spoken tradition, chanted by priests and their families, till writing was invented, tell me? Ancient Sanskrit has changed and one has a problem understanding it, but the message of the verse; is a bedrock of Hinduism and clarity shines brightly through in an intensity, that shows the clear thinking, of the ancient mystic who wrote it.

Agnimile purohitam, yagyasya devamrtvijam, I hotaram ratnadhatamam II

A learned mystic Sri Aurobindo translated it as, “I adore the Flame, the vicar, the divine Ritwik of the Sacrifice, the summoner who most founds the ecstasy.”

One of he most ancient of Mantras to survive in human existence is also translated as: “I venerate Agni, the priest (lit. who is placed on the seat of honour/in the East), divine ministrant of the sacrifice, bestower of treasure, par excellence.” 

अ॒ग्निमी॑ळे पु॒रोहि॑तं य॒ज्ञस्य॑ दे॒वमृत्विज॑म्। होता॑रं रत्न॒धात॑मम्॥१॥

Well any of us who have invoked Vedic Mantras while lighting Agni in the Havan kund know the ritual well. We start with (water, samagri, ghee and samidha) dry wood kindling and special mixture of natural items found in nature, to purify the air and raise the sacred flame of Agni within and without. We know that its a homage to the fire of creation, which burns in each and every one of us. It is only now when I have had the pleasure of reading the first verse of (our strutis) or knowledge passed down, by the invokers of the devas. The ancient sounds have not changed much from when they were first spoken, to express human ecstasy, while conducting the fire sacrifice (Havan or Homa). It is we who have forgotten them, and the ancient rishis still lead us to the righteous path.

It is rumored that when Edison asked his friend Max Muller to do the first recording in human history, he recorded this first verse for posterity.  This first recorded sound kept up an ancient Indian spoken tradition, unbroken in recorded time and still alive as originally spoken. So the ancient seer spoke these words and passed them on to his progeny, generation after generation, from the time the Arya arrived in India, and made it their own home. I am a product of these settlers in the rich valleys of the five rivers in the northern plains of Hindustan, in a region now known as Punjab.   The Indo-Aryan migrations started in approximately 1800 BCE, after the invention of the war chariot, and also brought Indo-Aryan languages into India.

In the Epic Mahabharata Arjun rides a war chariot and Krishna is his charioteer who drives and protects him and pulls the chariot up in between the warring cousins on the ancient battlefield of Kurukshetra. The sun reflects off of the bronze protective plates of the war ready warrior, as he throws down his great bow and questions why he must bring death on his near and dear ones. The chariot stops and we hear the Bhagavad Gita from the mouths of Arjun and Krishna (as described to the blind king many miles away by the seer Sanjay). The Gita is considered a condensation of the Vedas in some ways, as it lays out men’s duty to society, religion and knowledge.  So while the first verse of the Vedas spoke so much about internal ecstasy, the Gita gave us a whole new religious philosophy, showing many paths.

We in the Arya Samaj strongly believe, that the Vedic tradition is one of the most noble ways of life, and those who follow it will become Arya, or the enjoyers of inner peace and contentment . We will always strive to become learned, and do this by hearing from others and also passing on what we learn, to teach others.  We study the ancient texts and my mother used to do a daily Havan for man years, even in the worst of times, when she became a refugee in India, after the partition. The internal light in her lived on through life’s ups and downs, as it did in my father who was also a karma yogi. Their joint reciting of the Sanskrit verses during festivals and social occasions was a reminder to us that the pursuit of knowledge, would bring its own rewards.

My translation, “Oh Agni! Thou does’ light my inner being and I adore thee and the one (male\female) who sits on the East and hosts this great ceremony. By this great yagya flame we do the divine Ritwik of our traditions, for conducting this sacrifice. This sacrifice brings us closer to the Devas and the priests who have invoked them for millennia. As we raise our voices to the divine it is you Agni who causes the flame of our efforts to rise and lead us to greater ecstasy. We discover a treasure from the fruits of our Havan, a treasure so exquisite that we consider it par excellence. Finally we call out the summoner who is within us this day, who has mystified these words, and has invoked the eternal ecstasy, by his recitation of the ancient texts as they should be read He is the bestower of the greatest treasure called life, as we gather here to sing this hymn to its glory.”

We have lost our way in the current age of Kalyug or dark times,and Satyug or Truthful times will come again in our future, when we are free from Maya. Till then we can recite the verse and have faith that the promised treasure awaits us, and it is we who are wanting. Our ancients gave us such a powerful message of hope in the opening verse itself, that if none other had followed, Hinduism would have still lived to its modern form. The power of the tradition where an ordinary conductor of the ceremony becomes the raiser of our inner faith is so powerful a construct, that it needs no other external support. Hence Hinduism has lived through the ages largely unchanged, often reformed; yet the work, never quite completed.

We return in the end to the funeral pyre, where the body is disposed off by Agni, but the soul is not burnt; and it rises to either live forever in its ecstasy, or try again in a rebirth. So life begins and ebbs, rises and falls, in the rhythms, of these ancient verses. We have to just stop and breathe evenly, recite the ancient and sacred words, pour the ghee and samgaree on the kindling and pray. If we look hard enough at the fire burning outside and say the right words, our inner fire flames up, and the rest of the day is full of an awareness of love for nature and our universe.Imagine yourself as the Purohit and say the words that will bring you to your personalized ecstatic treasure. Life does not become more intense than this verse in its simplicity and power, so enjoy!.

Shadows of the overhanging granite cliffs

A bright sunny day and the ground next to the lake,

still had the white snow, left by the last snowstorm,

lying in the shadows of the overhanging granite cliffs.

The swans swam in the shallow end diving occasionally,

for their meal, and then sailing gracefully on the water.

The Geese swam at another end with the occasional honk.

My day is busy and the afternoon fleeting away in writing,

Who has come and who has gone is not my concern,

I am busy with my life and imagining tales not told.

Where did that idea go, as I had it in my grasp?

Maybe it is time for a nap and let existence be.

RK

The color of truth is grey. -Andre Gide, author, Nobel laureate (22 Nov 1869-1951)

Agrarian greatness grows civilizations

 

indian-flag-natural-child-flying

India has always been a knowledge based economy from ancient times. It was only after the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, and the subsequent pillaging of its resources by Western Powers, that the surpluses and innovation died. No civilization has been able to sustain itself without the ability to attain a growing wealth and prosperity, through indigenous growth, or through conquest and subjugation. America rose to prominence due to the high productivity of its lands and people. Similarly ancient Egypt, Babylon, China all grew their ancient civilizations on the backs of the people, who slaved in the fields, and produced a surplus of food. The ability to grow more from nature to meet human needs, is the essence of a great civilization.

Just recently India has achieved a milestone of producing the highest number of winners in the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholarship Program (MBBISP). The MBBISP program is the premier scholarship program that encourages research in rice and wheat breeding. The latest three students to receive the scholarship are Gurcharn Singh Brar working in the area of improving genetic resistance to Fusarium Head Blight in durum & brea wheat; Sreya Ghosh, whose Ph.D. project focuses on developing and fine tuning methods for unbiased gene cloning in wheat; and Karminderbir Kaur, who is working in the area of development of an in vivo haploid induction system in rice through distant hybridization & manipulation of CenH3 gene. Congratulations are in order for their efforts to improve the grains that feed and sustain human life on earth.

This should come as no surprise to the students of history as the Indus Valley civilization, pioneered the multi crop cultivation, of summer and winter crops in our world. India led all the other river civilizations in Egypt, Iraq, and China which were predominantly single season cultivators, by 2,500 BC. It was the innovation of the Indus valley people, which allowed them to grow surplus crops, during the summer and winter seasons. It was uniquely positioned to get both winter and summer rains. Its industrious people, went on to cultivate various crops and develop an urban civilization, based on the increased diversity of crops, and the increased wealth they brought. India has the greatest opportunity with its arable land and young population, to once again become the world agrarian leader for the twenty first century.

India is on the rise and its productivity can continue to grow for many decades, as it utilizes the latest technologies to grow agricultural produce. The Rabi or winter crop is being planted now and the trend is to move away from base cereals like rice and maize to higher value crops. The area under pulses, oilseeds and wheat increased from a year earlier, while planting of coarse cereals and rice fell. The government has set a Rabi season crop planting target of 638.09 lack (hundred thousand) hectares and with a normal monsoon, there is hope for a jump in production. India’s 91 major reservoirs hold 105.2 billion cubic meters of water, or 25% more than at the same time last year, suggesting better availability for winter crops. The government has to focus major resources on increasing the income of farmers, and helping them to produce better quality food, and a greater variety from its rich land. Careful water management, aided by the latest scientific agricultural methodology, can well unleash a new green revolution.

There is no harder job than trying to grow a plant, out of a clod of earth and water. Yet given the advances in our knowledge, we can bring new seeds, fertilizers, irrigation and mechanical equipment to boost productivity, of the land and people. For decades the farmers have been ignored and exploited since the nineteenth century, and now we must turn that tide. They should all benefit equally from the new knowledge, as truly India lives in its villages. We have to take the new technology, to the people to avoid a mass migration, to our urban centers which are already overflowing and unmanageable. There is a bright light of hope that things can be improved at the grassroots, using the new schemes for open trade and direct payments to farmers, using digital identities and methodology. The new generations of Independent India is more than willing to grab the opportunity of greater education, knowledge and scholarship to make a new nation.

India’s agrarian society flourished when the record keeping and identity of the farmers and landowners, were well documented and secure. Up to the eighteenth century we had progressive taxation systems, which did not leave the farmers destitute, or in despair. Today’s sad condition of rural families living on less than a dollar a day, has to be overcome. A more equitable society can only develop, when we have a sustained effort towards raising the lot, of the poorest of the poor. India has the brains and the work ethics, to be able to achieve greatness. Government has to become an enabler and then move out of the way, and the people will flourish. The Indus valley civilization is largely forgotten, but the hard lessons learned by our ancestors, are still here for us to gain from. Instead of dividing people on religion or caste lines, we need to bring all of them together. Only a joint effort of all the people working together shoulder to shoulder, can take us to the next level. Divide and Rule is only good for the ruler, and not the people. The diversity of crops and our people, is our greatest asset. It is nature’s and our ancestor’s great gift to us to use, for the evolution of our species.

Corral beauty

corral-j-pollock

Bluegreen Damsel fish at the Great Barrier Reef by F. Joseph Pollock a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State

The oceans are facing death as they warm up. The above award winning photo taken recently may not be true anymore. The warming of the ocean may have caused bleaching of the corral and the reef may be dying, and our scholar just has not been back, to this site to photograph, a potentially, still, white, dead, corral. There may be a plastic islands the size of our city, floating around on the Pacific. We dump enough refuge out to sea, which it finds its way killing or threatening, all kinds of life forms, in the ocean. Man has polluted these natural habitats and caused global warming and we have to improve, or we will kill our own world. Our grandchildren deserve to have the opportunity to see natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef, and we should take appropriate action. While we still live.

King of birds

King vulture

Photograph: Olaf Oliviero Riemer of a king vulture found in SA.

When I saw this vulture I saw nature in new colors, as it is truly a wonder of evolution. Life exists in so many different hues and shades, that I am constantly amazed, at all the sight of such creatures, in our universe. Each of us satisfies some need of nature, and just as we have discovered, in the return of the wolves in Yellowstone, that even predators like vultures, play a key role in evolution. Each of us has certain characteristics and natural traits, sense organs, and cognitive capabilities, endowed by nature. We each use our sense organs, for our personal gain, and yet through nature’s laws somehow, achieve harmony on earth.  The lioness is on the hunt, and few will stand between it and its goal, yet the wildebeest flourish. The vulture will feast this week again, as he has done from time immemorial, on the carrions that nature provides. I throw open my gates, and let the king of birds in, and he feasts to his delight. I awake to a flight of nothingness, yet strangely satiated, and soar on the wings of the vulture, into the high heavens..