“We are not on this earth to just stand still & look pretty. The museums already have enough statues.”
~ Mandy Hale
The multiple layers of clouds seemed to fill my mood with a sense of melancholy this morning. Sometimes when I look out over the vast open waters, spirit seems very near. Everywhere. Other days, like today, I couldn’t help but wander, what is my purpose in all of this …
The Montana Plains 200 Year Ago
As John Muir would say, the vastness of Glacier National Park and the Big Sky Country of Montana would change me. One of the most mind-opening experiences came at a stop to a historical point along the Yellowstone River.
At Pompey’s Pillar National Monument, just outside of Billings, the Lewis & Clark expedition would arrive at a huge rock formation. Clark would later carve his name – W. Clark – and the date – July 25, 1806 – into the stone; Still visible, his mark is probably the only surviving evidence of the entire expedition.
Clark would write “This rock I ascended, and from it’s top had a most extensive view in every direction.” As I walked through the Interpretive Center, one of the sign posts claimed that what Clark likely saw would have rivaled The Serengeti Plains of Africa. There would have been some 60 to 80 million buffalo roaming free across the land.
As I stood atop the view, I tried to imagine what this whole world looked like only 200 years ago.
Only 200 years !!! God, what are we doing here … to this fragile planet and beautiful beings of yours ??
We have the nerve to insist that Africa protect it’s plains, yet look at what we’ve done to our own land in little over the span of 2 lifetimes. Today, only 200,000 or so buffalo remain. Held in captivity.
Cattle Disaster – Money or Murder ?
Big Sky Country is also home to many cattle ranches. On the day of my departure, I happened to pick up a local news paper at the airport. Headlines read:
“Ranchers face cattle disaster: Freak October storm wiped out 30,000 in the SD herds.”
The article, which can be read at the end of this post, went on to detail the financial loss to the farmers. Nowhere in the article did it talk about the suffering of the animal.
Can you imagine if 30,000 dogs died because their owners left them outside to freeze to death? The type of public outrage that would have ensued?
I had to wonder, would these animals have survived had they been left to their own means, instead of being placed inside some fences with no shelter?
As I looked out over the ocean this morning, these thoughts drifting though my mind, truly my compassionate heart aches. And sometimes it just aches for myself. Because my thoughts are no doubt in the smallest of minorities.
What is my purpose here lord …. ?
As I googled quotes on Life’s Purpose again, I spent some time on GoodReads.com. The quotes on this site are usually from authors, filmwriters, books & movies. It sometimes offers a different take on a subject …
Of course I found myself nodding at Michael Crichton’s take on life, in his book “The Lost World”: “Human beings are so destructive. I sometimes think we’re a kind of plague, that will scrub the earth clean. We destroy things so well that I sometimes think, maybe that’s our function. Maybe every few eons, some animal comes along that kills off the rest of the world, clears the decks, and lets evolution proceed to its next phase.”
And a chuckle at Richelle Goodrich’s take: “Sometimes it feels as if God set you on Earth with a bottle full of nasty-tasting pills which He called days, along with these instructions: ‘Swallow one at a time, and when you’re done you can come home’.”
So which is it?
The Dalai Lama says about life ““The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
The Ag-Gag Laws & what you need to know!
What I find interesting, is that as soon as I made this post out to my morning blog, the very first post I saw in return was from a vegan friend in Madison Wisconsin, head of the UW Animal Rights Society.
Gina was announcing a talk at UW entitled: “Criminalizing Activism: From the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act to Ag-Gag”. Will Potter from GreenIsTheNewRed.com will be discussing how political activists are being labeled as “terrorists,” and what we can do about it.
I have to admit that I didn’t know much about the Ag-Gag law until today. A coalition of journalists and animal-rights activists, led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have filed a lawsuit to invalidate Utah’s ag-gag statute, which makes it a crime to photograph an agricultural operation without the owner’s consent or to gain agricultural employment under false pretenses.
One particularly blogged-about incident was the case of Amy Meyer, a Utah animal-rights activist who became the first person charged with violating an ag-gag law after she filmed a slaughterhouse from the street. The story went viral after journalist Will Potter, now one of the plaintiffs in the Utah lawsuit, wrote about it on his website, GreenIsTheNewRed.com.
I have 30 some good years left to this life. If I’m lucky.
“Life without a purpose is like an unsharpened pencil; it has no point.”
You can bet that I’m whittling away at my pencil. How about you? Are you busy sharpening yours? To leave this world in a better place than when you entered it … ?
In any way you can, let’s make sure this Ag-Gag law is over-turned. Spread the word. For the sake of the animals.