Happiness is the acceptance of reality

Published 4:50 pm Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happiness is the acceptance of reality, and living in accordance with that reality.

We live in a culture that “dreams the big dream” where everyone can “be whatever you want to be” and “live the good life” with more stuff than our forefathers could even imagine.

The fact that they couldn’t even imagine wanting so much stuff is a minor point.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Fact: We are pumping more water out of the ground than is being replaced by natural processes. I’m working in the camp kitchen again this summer; watching thousands of gallons of water get wasted every day. None of the kitchen workers, staff or campers have any clue that they are adding to the problem. The camp is built beside a generously flowing creek, so that we fall asleep to the sound of the water cascading down the mountain. But the water that we use is coming from deep down in the ground. What we are seeing and hearing will flow into the Green River, then the Broad River, then into the Atlantic. Then it will evaporate and come down to earth as rain, taking years to sink down to the level of the well. How many years? Most of us will be long gone by that time.

Fact: The hemlocks are dying; 90 percent of them will be gone in the next 10 years. Many of us have been saying that the wooly adelgid will pass through and leave lots of hemlocks untouched; those folks are the happy ones in denial. Some folks have treated the hemlocks on their land (as we have done so here at camp) saving as many as possible, even though the herbicide that kills the wooly adelgid also kills moths and butterflies. Those folks are the ones who are doing their best to address the problem. But thousands of hemlocks are dying in the forests, and the forests through which our grandchildren will walk will be much different than what is there now. Maybe there will be more wildflowers because more sunlight will reach the forest floor. I want to live long enough to see what changes are in store.