our wild and wondrous birthright

In The Outermost House, Henry Beston wrote: “Nature is part of our humanity, and without some awareness and experience of that divine mystery man ceases to be man.”

With some adjustments to shift away from gender exclusive pronouns, he goes on: “When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit, a part of very flesh and bone, [humans become] a kind of cosmic outlaw, as it were, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity.”

Regarding our wild and wondrous birthright, bear in mind that it’s not a matter of entitlement. Our birthright, as members of the community of wild nature, doesn’t correspond with simple narratives of wealth and the inheritance of finite resources. Yet neither is it an assurance of abundance that comes from overreaching narratives of transcendence and infinity.

The birthright of true humanity is about finding wealth in the impulse to share. It’s about finding assurance in the creatureliness of our being.

Our birthright is both burden and bounty. With our toes in the grass, we celebrate the gift of our presence on earth. With our gaze raised to the sky, we lean all the way into our capacity to give.