An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of November 19, 2007
Written at Yerba Buena and issued from a ciber in
Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacan, Chiapas, MÉXICO

NOSEGAY

Nosegay

The other day a small group of students from the Adventist college below us came exploring the trail leading to my dwelling. When they saw my building they turned around. The next morning when I walked past the spot where they'd stopped, I found the wilted nosegay shown above.

"Nosegay" is an old-fashioned word we don't hear nowadays because people no longer bother with nosegays. But, just look at the neat manner by which someone tied the flowers together with a grapevine tendril. In our culture do children ever bother with anything as simple and detailed as a nosegay?

My impression of North American culture is that -- with a few isolated and beautiful exceptions -- our people, and especially young people, not only "don't have time" to do things like create nosegays, but also have simply lost their taste for all simple, subtle features of life.

Having said that, a question arises: By losing nosegays, has our culture really lost anything important?

We have, and here's why:

Hectic, industrial-strength lifestyles with no time or disposition for creating nosegays not only are unsustainable but unhealthy. Fast-moving, sense-bombarded lifestyles consume enormous energy and natural resources, leave huge carbon footprints, are hard on the nerves and digestion, and leave too little time for reflection, clearing the mind, and spiritual development.

The loss of nosegays, then, is like the death of a canary in a coalmine with ever-higher levels of poisons contaminating the air: It's a foreboding sign, a clear warning.

The main corrective measures are: Simplification; lowering the volume and intensity on everything; more time spent developing one's spirituality (not religiosity), and; if there's a child around whose nerve endings haven't already been blasted into oblivion by sensory overload, go make a nosegay with that kid. Facebook Icon