Clear as Glass

First published in Sanctuary Asia, Vol. 35 No. 12, December 2015

By Bittu Sahgal

Nature designed its miraculous systems to mesh together in stunning complexity so that life, all manner of life, could emerge, stay safe and flourish. 

Nothing on Earth is purposeless... not this developing Amboli bush frog... not the most breathtaking sunset... not the teeniest hair on an elephant’s head.

Nothing on Earth is wasted either... not dead bodies, not fallen trees... not even a fly’s excreta.

Nothing on Earth is superfluous... not the tiniest grain of sand... not one leaf... not one ice crystal atop the Himalaya.

I wonder sometimes… why we, of all species, were appointed as nature’s ‘chosen ones’? Why did our brains evolve to become what could well prove to be the most complex structure in our known universe? And why does our incredible gift of abstraction seem incapable of picking up the danger signals being broadcast like a scream by nature? Glaciers melting. Seas rising. Climate changing. Amphibians vanishing like so many will-o’-the-wisps seductively illuminating the path to oblivion for Homo sapiens? 

I also wonder sometimes at the worth of all our science, technology, art, culture, hope and aspirations, if we are unable to grasp the clear-as-glass, numbing reality… that shredding the gossamer atmosphere that envelopes our tiny blue planet would end our existence, just as surely as the tiniest tear would the life of this expectantly-developing bush frog.

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