I love a good cry; a cry that comes from being inspired, a cry that comes from witnessing selflessness. I especially love a cry that comes from doing the right thing for our planet and taking only as much as we truly ‘need’. At present I am sitting in a sunbeam – literally, not figuratively – high up in a valley nestled within the Velebit Mountains and 1/2 million UNSECO protected acres of pristine wilderness at The Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch. I am sitting at big square table in a snug wooden chalet that has sheep’s wool for insulation and tongue and grove knotty pine paneling on half of the flat surfaces surrounding me. Incredibly, I am ‘conventionally’ using geo-stationary satellite WiFi despite being an easy 35 kilometers from the nearest good sized town.
It’s mid-morning but I have been awake since 3:30AM because Medo (honey bear in Croatian) was warning off something he felt threatened his property – and by extension me. Ordinary, hyper-busy, overly caffeinated people might have taken exception to have their sleep disturbed with such empathic bellowing but I got up, threw a couple logs into the woodstove, turned the lights on the front stoop and the side porch and asked Medo what was wrong instead. The lights seemed to be enough to send whatever nature was stalking its rightful land away and Medo calmed down immediately. Harmony for the two of us even at the expense of the nocturnal wanderings of the local fauna – bobcat, two kinds of deer, privacy seeking wolves and bear, higher up Big Horn sheep, Golden eagles, owls, and hundreds of kinds of birds including Capercaillie. So you see my day started in harmony with nature – sort of.
The mountaintops got a confectioners’ sugar dusting of snow last night because it was just cold enough – and I gather an asteroid was passing very close to the Earth, and thus, a contributing factor to the cold. The eaves are melting of their tiny icicles in the sunlight, sending sparkling droplets onto the gravel surrounding the chalet. The moment is as far away from stress and damaging our planet as can be imagined and yet, what ‘message’ I got this morning was about reinforcing the efforts of conservation and supporting a dynamic and thriving eco-system. As every effort is local – let me start here at Linden Tree. I think Bozidar Bruce Yerkovich (PhD) had a vision of containment – not his word – of creating something sublime, sustainable and self-sufficient (to the extent possible). He took three years to find this 50 acre parcel of undulating meadows, crystal clear spring fed streams, mountains covered with hard and soft woods and over the next two years he reclaimed or rebuilt on hundred year old foundations – the Buffalo Lodge (the main building) evidently had a good sized walnut tree growing up through the space that once was a bedroom and its roof in what is now the dining room (yes re-roofed). There is more bio-diversity here (three separate micro-climates) than what can be found across all of the geo-political boundaries of Belgium. While Linden Tree has horses to ride I am content to feed them treats on occasion and have picked up their combs and brushes and lent a hand to their grooming, subsequently being rewarded with soft nuzzles and horse breath on my shoulders. I write here more than anything else but I am cooking and baking too. I am, again as I concluded my first book, in the place which William Henry Channing wrote of:
“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, to all bravely await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”
It is with great respect that I am here, nestled in this sanctuary of natural beauty in the wilds of Croatia while avarice and willful destruction tears asunder our planet.
Croatia has always had extraordinary minds (perhaps even dis-proportionately so against its total population) influencing the world at large, the most readily identifiable is the original “open source” proponent Nikola Tesla (born 20 kilometers from where I sit). Like everywhere else in the world right now (and perhaps it has always been so) there are those who tend and those who destroy. But I prefer to resonate at a higher frequency of possibilities – based upon mutual benefit and respect, and those ideas of such lofty aspirations generated by individuals who, like Tesla, continue to believe in the value of sharing, and of altruism.
Incredibly there are those threatened by bio-diversity, by conservation, by those, who in giving so freely of themselves set an example to emulate. The extraordinary breadth of nature to be found here should serve as a model for the rest of the world but those others wish to destroy – short sighted financial gains at the peril of this beautiful country. I recently was introduced to the nearly singular, internationally acclaimed efforts of Dr. Goran Sušić to protect the last known population of Griffon vultures in Croatia (on the Adriatic sea-side of the Velebits). And I would like to I invite you to read (and share) this fabulous piece written by Marija Tegovska for Green Fudge on the native wolf population. Both could use financial support, and volunteers so I am providing links to both should be so inclined.
We are perilously close to the point of no return. According to the Center for Biological Diversity 99 percent of all species threatened in this sixth cycle of mass extinctions will be as a result of human activities. In this tiny corner of the world for the span of time against all of history equal being equal to a single grain of sand in an hourglass falling I am awed by the commitment offered by Bruce, his wife Megi and all the volunteers and staff who give so much of themselves to help the rest of us appreciate what is truly important.
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