Each afternoon at 4 o'clock I offer a free walk around the Hacienda's grounds, usually taking between 1½ to 2 hours. For some reason mostly folks from the United Kingdom show up but also there are North Americans, Germans and other nationalities. While we walk and talk I get to know the guests, and all of them are astonished by events in their home countries. Germans have their immigration debate, the English are at odds about the UK leaving the European Union, and people from the US generally arrive in stunned amazement over their presidential campaign.

All this agitation is perfectly natural, in the Naturalist's sense of the word. When a species' population increases rapidly even as resources diminish -- as when humans overpopulate the Earthly biosphere -- competition for resources increases tension and often causes conflict. It's interesting to think about connections between the West's need for petroleum, recent wars in the Middle East, and modern international terrorism.

In the past, wars, famine and diseases controlled human populations, and simple violence and force ordered societies by enabling a few to dominate the less violent and powerful. That's all very natural, exactly as happens among "wild animals." It's still an open question as to whether humanity has evolved to the state where it can restrain and order itself more elegantly.

Maybe we can, because of the Sixth Miracle of the Six Miracles of Nature, outlined at

Here's the Sixth Miracle:

Instinctual behavior blossomed into consciousness, along with the ability to be inspired, have a sense of aesthetics, to grow spiritually, to override the dictates of our genes, and to exhibit other particularly human traits."

The Sixth Miracle offers hope that humans can "be inspired, have a sense of aesthetics, to grow spiritually... " all of which -- in my opinion and in my experience -- lead inexorably toward compassion for other living things, reverence for diversity, and clear minds capable of finding and implementing appropriate, compassionate solutions to our problems.

Only time will tell whether as a species we're capable of controlling our appetites and disciplining ourselves so that our Earthly ecosystem can continue supporting us. However, right now, this very instant, recognition of the Sixth Miracle offers something to each of us wanting to rise above the disorder and disharmony around us.

That is, instead of allowing our minds to obsess on disorder and disharmony, we can spend more time meditating on those features of reality that our inner senses tell us are transcendentally good and beautiful. For example, there's Nature. And the Sixth Miracle of Nature is, by definition, a part of Nature. Therefore, rising above violence and stupidity also is natural, though at some point it requires a decision to do so.

Our BackyardNature.Net website was created exactly to help people learn how to focus on Nature, starting with what's living in our own backyards.