We see value in the eight week old chickens that spend their days poking around in the sparse woods, climbing logs and honing their scratching skills in the spring soil as their caretakers commit themselves to making a new way of life. We see value in the neighbor’s greeting as he gathers the last buckets of a maple’s sweet life blood at the close of this year’s sap run, and in the children who offer their enthusiasm to the project. We see value in new trees being planted, in spring snow giving way to spring sun, and in the hints of green that cast a hue of promise over the fields. We see value in the wood duck perched high in the basswood tree, in the gentle flap of a sand hill crane’s wings overhead, and in the beaver, the keeper of the lake. We see value in life unfolding organically all around us.
Turns out the value that is needed to sustain abundant life isn’t found in a bank, a trust fund, or a gold bar. Value isn’t in the numbers of a dollar amount next to the numbers of checking account when you look at an online banking profile. Value doesn’t come from putting in overtime for a company that works for profit of a few.
Real value can be found in the sacred of life, in the people and creatures that call the earth home, and in the energy that flows between everything in the universe.
There is a Native American saying which goes something like this: “Only when the last tree has withered, the last fish has been caught, and the last river has been poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money.” No one wants this to be the end of our story: Not the linemen who work for oil companies. Not the suburbanites who drive army vehicles to get their groceries at the nearest Walmart. Not the farmer who sprays his GMO crops with Roundup. Not the commuter who travels two hours every day to get to a high paying trading job on Wall Street.
We need to remember where our value lies, and use it. We need to remember that the reason we are alive and in communion with this place, this earth, is to experience the abundance that is possible when we make a point to notice it. We need to judge less and love more. We need to cling to the outcome we want less and accept more. We need to turn a blind eye to the cry of the earth less and listen more. We need to see value where the value is.
Goodness is the only investment that never fails. -Thoreau