Are we simple?
Fiji welcomed us with 30 pages of bureaucracy. Not a lot of info, just 2 copies of this, 4 copies of that, 7 copies of the other… all important for different departments I’m sure, but man that’s a lot of trees over a year.
We landed here (Ovalau) yesterday, dropped anchor and sat in glorious solitude without fanfare or ceremony. It’s been a rare day off without people demanding our attention. Gliding over the reef on a paddle-board, the water without the faintest ruffle of a breeze was like glass. Here and there small bright fish dashed for cover, the odd purple starfish sprawled over the coral, but basically nothing much moved. A small shark appeared and disappeared silently into the blue. Around it’s edges the reef had a few bits of living coral, but other than that there was little life to be seen. Matani and Tetaua went spearfishing and came back empty handed. “There’s nothing out there.” They said, “no fish.”
I’m not sure why this reef is like that but it’s sad to see. A quarter of all life in the oceans is on coral reefs and when they die as we’re told they will in 10-20 years if we don’t change our lifestyles, we will lose more than just a few fish.
Agriculture, for all it’s perceived value, has played a huge role in the destruction of our flora and fauna. Not only in the run off of pesticides and fertilizers, but in encroachment on the natural world and competition with ‘wild’ animals and habitats.
It seems we have ceased to live in harmony with nature and strive with all our might to control the planet. And if we look at the state most of the people on the planet live in, even in ‘civilised’ countries it begs the question, has it worked? Are we better off for it? Have we E-volved or have we D-volved into a species focused unrealistically on controlling something that quite frankly is beyond us. The more we try to control, the more we seem to destroy. The older peoples of our planet, the ignorant natives for want of a better term had/have an understanding of being a part of life. A piece of the whole. We’ve done our best to either kill them outright (small pox infested blankets as gifts, a bounty on their scalps) or force them to adopt our lifestyle (a generation of children taken from their families, forced settlements). And to what end? Has our lifestyle proven healthier and happier than the one they had lived for thousands of years?
To move forward into a healthy future we need to look back to the lessons of our ancestors, all our ancestors. The basis of Indigenous wisdom is a holistic approach to life. We are part of a greater community of living things without which we will live on a rock or in a concrete city.
We, the modern world, have achieved great things, miracles, but we desperately need to reconnect with Life.
Right now we’re going to connect with life on shore, for all the bureaucracy the Fijian welcome is warm and it’s great to be back here. All the instruments are loaded in the dinghy and the lovo (earth oven) is cooking away and promising good things for dinner.
Laughter’s floating between the canoes and I can here the ukulele’s playing already. Simplicity’s not a bad thing eh. There’s a lot less to worry about.
Dunc and Faafaite