Monday, November 05, 2007

Eco pilgrimage

I spent 17 days recently in Far North Queensland. It was my fifth trip to the region. When I planned my first trip I used the internet (this may have been pre-google) to look for eco-tourism. As a child I went to Cairns with my parents. It was life changing. I went from collecting shells on the beach to wanting to be a marine biologist when I grew up. I can hardly swim a stroke, but no worries as I am a meteorologist now. My trips always focus about the rainforests. The Daintree is a magical region, a small fragment of ancient forest from the time of Gondwana. In my mind it meets some of the requirements of an eco-pilgrimage.

Being something special, there is a sense of the out of the ordinary, the different from the everyday. This might be somewhat muted for someone who lives in the region, a change is as good as a holiday as they say. However, there is a special quality of the region such that familiarity should not breed contempt.

There is also a diversity in the rainforest that speaks of the fruitfulness of a creation that is able to create itself, and the creator behind it. The heavens declare the glory of God, but so does nature.

In order for a view of nature not to descend into Romanticism, death, decay and savagery must be taken into account. The bible says that God gives the Lion its food. Squeamishness has no more place and a salivating delight in carnage (like too many wildlife documentaries). I don't tend to see too much of this up north, although the sight of green tree ants devouring a flying fox (dead) was fascinating. The forest wastes nothing.

It is hard to put into words the feelings that this place brings. Seeing a platypus in the wild as religious an experience as I've had in any church. What theology can deny this? Remember so much of the bible takes on an anti-idolatry polemic. Nature is not divine, but neither is the divine absent from nature. The bible demytholigies but does not desacralise. People (including too many Christians) have done that.

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