Every so often a book is published that gets little attention initially but breaks out into a roar. Becoming Animal is just such a book of environmental literature. It deserves attention at all levels of our culture. David, a scientist by training, lives in the earth… and I mean IN… In a time when we are so far removed from the earth, it’s concerns, its life force, David has presented a narrative, a sensual walk in the earth which speaks to the bones of what it means to be a human animal.
David’s number one thesis is that humans live disconnected from their very being which is now on the verge of collapse… Environmental degradation, the loss of resources, the increase in carbon, all the debate around the green movement means nothing because humans no longer sense and live connected to our root nature as animals. He presents a luscious journey into the woods, rafting on a lake, through a rainstorm, looking out a window, sensing the missing elements of our awareness as connected to mother earth. He argues quite succinctly that this disconnection, through survival, resource use, cities, language, mood, and a sense of superiority that has grown with technological development is killing who we really are an how we were meant to live, connected to the animals, forest and land.
David, using words, paints pictures of beauty that makes one want to run out to the woods and sit in silence, which is not really as quiet as we think. He points out that our perceptions have been guided to ignore the magic that is all around us at all times. He points to the life patterns of birds, whales, moose and hundreds of living creatures that are aching to be heard, understood and lived among. He notes that we have lost our first language, the language of the earth… and he writes through his own memoir of experience, how he rediscovered this magic. My ears have become tuned in, my eyes see the life force of trees, my heart sings when I read his journeys just outside his back door. The result has been an increase in my living perception of the world I live in.
David does not just surround one with the poetry of landscape, he steps into it as a scientist. He sees through the veils of our paradigms and beyond where science meets spirituality and where his logic and argument cannot be denied. We are missing a fundamental presence as we live in the earth. We are co-creators, in his thesis, with these partner animals and plants… We are living in a circle of beauty.
By the time the book rounded the corner through moods, deep ecology, language and inevitably shape shifting, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am animal first and foremost… that I am dancing the great dance of creation with and in the earth. I fly, I swim, I walk and run on the most beautiful planet in our region of space. And truly at this point I see the choices that I have made which destroys this fundamental connection to life itself.
Would that everyone read this epic journey back to the humility of being human within the great context of being alive during these times. Only if we see though the illusions we have created of pseudo superiority and disconnection from the earth and her inhabitants are we going to survive and live in balance on the earth. David is a true warrior for the spirit of life.