News of yet another wolf poaching in Oregon creates a profound feeling of despair and helplessness. What can we do? It feels as if the people with the guns are holding all the cards, doing what they want with no repercussions. But a deeper look at the situation reveals an unassailable truth. These people, the ones with the guns, are the ones being held hostage, not by us, but by the crippling effects of their own fear.
Imagine the fear inside a man who would shoot a wolf at 27 yards and then claim self defense. Imagine the fear inside an individual who would kill an endangered species for no reason except the possibility that the animal might kill something of his. Feel the fear that is running rampant in this country right now, fueled on by an administration that attempts to hide its cowardice through insults and prejudices. And the effects of this fear, both internal and collective, is destroying much more than wildlife, as the now common mass shootings reveal.
Answers–I have none. But there is no longer any doubt that firearms, the weapon of choice for most of these crimes, are an issue. As are the leniency of the laws that allow perpetrators to escape penalty for their actions, even when they are caught. And as for the fear, one can only do so much to absolve this in others, although we can try. Perhaps the poachers, hunters, and other damaged souls need to find the courage to fall, then rise above and climb out of their fear, as poet Theodore Roethke so eloquently describes:
In a Dark Time
By Theodore Roethke
In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly.
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind.
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.