The familiar vista of the Sacramento Valley from an airplane reveals more than a physical contrast. Obvious are roads, canals and fence lines slashing below, straight and measured geometry assignments. Equally obvious is the lurching course of a great river, feeder streams squiggling into it like a mad artist's doodling.
Less obvious when viewing those features from above is that they represent opposing visions of the place. The canals, the roads, the fence lines are proprietary, profane reflections of contemporary American beliefs; the streams are familiar and sacred reflections of Native American assumptions.
In what sense profane? The Valley was not the ancestral home of Europeans; they had no enduring link to it, so it was in no way sacrosanct. Moreover, they assumed theologically that nature was somehow the enemy of people - a beast to be domesticated, bought and sold (emphasis added).
We live, simultaneously, in two different worlds. Ultimately, we live in the World of Nature, a world that we did not create and the world upon which all life depends. Most immediately, we inhabit a "human world" that we create ourselves. Because our human world is the result of our own choices and actions, we can say, quite properly, that we live, most immediately, in a “political world.” In this blog, I hope to explore the interaction of these two worlds that we call home.