I enjoyed an early morning stroll by the beach, enjoying the roar of the surf and the sounds of gulls begging the beachfront hotel guests for a bit of their breakfast. The coast of Oregon is not the warm and gentle experience of the Florida beaches but rather a brutal reminder of the cataclysmic beginnings of this land. Remnants of the previous ice age and volcanic activity litter the surf in the form of gigantic moss and barnacle covered rock formations. The waves crash against these formations sending spray and foam reaching high into the sky before raining back down into the chaotic eddy's dancing below. The trees perched perilously along the rugged features of this coast bend genuflect to the great mountain range behind them. There is an ageless battle between earth and sea that resonates deeply within my own soul. This place is about survival but also about death.
On return to my lodging, my eyes landed upon a dark lump in the distance, gulls and a couple smaller birds digging hungrily at it. As I neared I discovered the lump was a fallen comrade of the hordes, a dead pelican. Jagged red flesh exposed beneath matted gray feathers showed the place where the seabirds aided in the decomposition of their flying friend. He had lost his last battle against the sea, the very medium that had given him life and sustenance had taken it from him. Now he would be reclaimed to he bosom, his flesh continuing to soar great heights, reincarnated into the muscle and sinew of other birds.
At first it seemed tragic, one bird devouring another. Yet it is the primordial way, recycling and balancing death with life. Tragedy is the human condition. As we pick the flesh from the bones of our own kind we destroy ourselves. The Israeli's kill their neighbors and rob them of their homes, refugee camps border too many war torn areas, men rape and mutilate women and children mercilessly for no cause they could put words to, internally displaced people roam the countrysides the world over. Iraq, once a proud nation, has been reduced to rubble due to the vanity of another, better armed and more brutal nation. All of our tears, our suffering will one day be washed away, set adrift in the seas or buried deeply beneath new earth. This pain that we gift each other with is empty and meaningless, for we are all doomed to the same fate. Would it not make more sense to comfort one another in our inevitable decay and death rather than to exacerbate our agony? Let's open our eyes and restore balance to our existence. This is the truth of nonviolence. This is my truth as I know it.