A Song of Sanity
Posted by Robin Easton
This is the second in a series of posts that explore perceptions of sanity and insanity. To read the first post in this series, click this title: “Seeing for the First Time”.
We tend to think of insanity in a clinical and individual sense: mental disorders, sick minds, and so on. I remember someone saying that an insane person does not know that she or he is insane, since what they are doing seems perfectly normal to them, while their behaviors are actually outside the norms of society. I’ve been thinking lately how the ways insanity can go beyond the individual. Perhaps when people do irrational things that endanger their own welfare and the welfare of others, other species and the environment, we could call it collective craziness or madness.
When I was in the rainforest I took frequent hikes to be alone so I could become comfortable with myself and to better understand my relationship to the world around me. I came to realize however, that I was not really alone. While there were no other people in the forest, nor were there gurus and prophets, I was surrounded by teachers filled with incredible wisdom and survival skills: plants, animals, insects, and trees. I was humbled and exhilarated by the awareness I gained in this school without books and desks. That wisdom they taught me became the inspiration for drastic life changes and my book, Naked in Eden.
One particularly strong lesson came to me one day, when I witnessed something that horrified me and at the same time made me marvel at the tenacity of life in the forest. What I saw seemed irrational, futile, and maybe even insane, until I stopped to think about it. This condensed excerpt from my book briefly describes what occurred:
One morning as I trudged down to the spring for a bucket of water, I heard the desperate call and agitated flutter of a bushlark. I tracked the lark to a patch of tall coarse grass just above our spring and stopped short at the impressive sight of a twelve-foot scrub python, five feet away from me. Each fat curve of his body bulged as he propelled himself in a hypnotic fashion, inch by inch toward the lark’s nest. The petite grayish-brown bird focused on the python’s threatening approach. Terror protruded her tiny black eyes. The little lark hopped up and down and flapped her rust-colored wings to ward off the snake and protect her young in the nest.
The entire rainforest seemed to hold its breath. Silence hung nearly undisturbed in the early morning air as the forest watched and waited to absorb the lark’s inevitable death. Her cries grew more anxious as she sought to lead the scrub python away from her young. The python slithered closer.
I gasped in surprise when the dainty bushlark flew into the face of death. With seconds left to live, the lark abruptly ceased her frantic dance and positioned herself between her babies and approaching death. She stood perfectly still, tipped back her head and sang the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. A rich melodious tinkling, clear and sweet, floated on the air and echoed off the trees down in the spring. The death song. Or perhaps the sweet song of life. There was no resistance from the lark, no need for the python to suffocate and subdue his prey. Less than an inch away, the snake opened his jaws and swallowed the lark whole and alive: song, head, wings, feet, tail . . . silence.
I realized that the mother lark was willing to surrender her present life to ensure the future life of her young. Whether they would survive or not, she still tried to protect their future. Some might simply label what she did as “instinct”, but she was magnificent. If instinct is all that she really had, then it’s the most amazing and life affirming instinct any being can have. I thrive in that instinct. Isn’t it a form of sanity, when we follow the instinct to protect the future for our young, to leave a world rich in opportunity, rather than drained from exploitation? Are we as a species, showing this form of sanity? Are we doing this for our young?
What if we thought about insanity as something that can occur as a species? Are we capable of collective insanity as a species? Can our actions as a species endanger our welfare, as well as that of the life around us? Can these actions seem normal, since the whole species is doing them? I think we, as a species, need more of this survival instinct.
~ “NAKED IN EDEN” ~ Available on Amazon
Did you Enjoy reading Naked in Eden? Would love a review from you, HERE. If you’ve not yet read my Australian adventure book and would like to, you can order it on Amazon HERE. “Naked in Eden” is a spirited true-life Australian adventure story, filled with personal transformation. It is wonderfully life altering for adults, teens and tweens, and makes a memorable gift. Enjoy!