Jun 20, 2007

Get right

Now, back to this trip I mentioned.

One of my favorite southern expressions is "Getting right with God."
It generally means getting your ducks in a row, getting your act together in a very profound and overarching kind of lifestyle way. See also, "Come to Jesus". We're not talking "Hey, that shirt doesn't go with those pants." It's more like, "Quit dicking around because you'll probably die from this."

I like this saying because, like many southern expressions that sound overtly religious, "Getting right with God" really isn't about God. Or depending on the breadth of scope with which you view religion as a concept, it really, really is. But it's from the south, which makes it more exotic. In the end, it has everything to do with dropping the narcissism and kicking yourself in the ass.
After spending some quality time on one of the most amazing patches of real estate this country has to offer, I submit that more of us need to Get Right with The Land. It's not about Al Gore or global warming or Green Party politics. Or, depending on the breadth of scope with which you view your environment as a concept, it really, really is. In the end, it has everything to do with kicking yourself in the ass. The Land is the great unknowable, it is the ultimate justice, the one place to be unique and anonymous, huge and insignifigant at the same time. It's beautiful and hostile and it would just as soon pose for a picture as crush the last breath out of you. The Land shelters lizards and kills baby deer. You don't have to hold a degree in theology to get where I'm going with this.

The Jemez indians of Northern New Mexico got it:
"In our culture, there is no word for 'religion', it is simply the way you live with the land"
(paraphrased from the interpretive center)
We don't quite get it yet, but sometimes we come close. We have to Get Right with The Land, we have to quit dicking around and recognize, get real, come to Jesus, make it count, win one for the Gipper because, well, this sh*t is serious.

To illustrate my point, I invite you to get right with this (from Flickr):














Now call your mother, stop antagonizing your co-worker and quit feeling guilty about things that have nothing to do with you. You're going to die soon.

2 comments:

Rachel said...

tell it. it's how I felt after Death Valley.

flamingbanjo said...

It's why pictures of nature (no disrespect intended, natch) not only never do it justice, but are often outright treacherous lies. A of all, you'd never know it from the photo, but that shit is BIG. Second, if you get caught out in it after nightfall, it might eat you.

Many religions have some name for this which is often mistranslated by our own Judeo-Christian-influenced culture as "God" but is actually probably more like "nature" or more simply "the way things are." The word "tao" for instance, is generally translated as "the way." This simultaneously means "the way things work" and "the flow that you need to go with if you don't want the universe to smack you down."