Letter to the Editor
Why we can’t see the forest for the trees
Dear Mr. Henry,
In your column last week, (We all have fallen short and the dream has yet to be fulfilled) you hit the nail on the head, maybe even without realizing it. You wrote, “Before we can willfully embrace the unification efforts of others we have to first address the self hatred in our own culture. It’s as if we’re inside our blackness, as if we can’t see the forest for the trees.” You are literally correct.
The majority of us Black people in America have put distance between ourselves and nature. We are not out in the parks and forests interacting with the real world in which we can see and feel God, and feel ourselves as part of His creation. Therefore we continue to feel separate, hopeless, longing for a heaven beyond Earth while ignoring the gifts God has given us right here on Earth.
This is how I describe it in my guide book to the national parks:
“Standing before our ‘Crown Jewels’ in the Grand Canyon National Park, in Yellowstone, Yosemite and Denali National Parks, I recognize that I am part of the same beautiful whole, and it has little to do with such superficialities as how I wear my hair, my skin color, my clothes or my makeup. It has everything to do with the current of energy that runs from nature through me, connecting me to past, present and future. It reminds me that like everyone else, I have no idea how I got here on Planet Earth, and no idea how or when I will leave. This places me at the mercy of something much bigger than myself, and I can see by its expression in nature that it is beautiful and harmonious. Now I feel beautiful all the time, and everyone I see appears beautiful as well. I truly believe everything is working cohesively on our behalf.”
You don’t have to go to any of those places I cite, but every healthy and aspiring-to-be-healthy person needs to have a conscious relationship with nature. It improves your spiritual, mental and physical well-being. Check out your local city, county or state park and go for a meditative, prayerful walk. It will change you in ways that you cannot imagine. I know, because it changed me.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida