And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet,
In the culture of the 40's and 50's of the United States some issues, of course, were assiduously ignored. The plot ignores the tragic history of conquest on this continent by European colonists and the cruel reality that Oklahoma itself was originally the western terminus of the infamous "Trail of Tears". In fact, the "cowboys and the farmers" that were the major characters of the tale were beneficiaries of another round of broken treaties, opening Indian Territory to land speculation and "homesteading".
It's ironic that in the title song, our Fundamental Connection to Nature, perhaps the hallmark of the Native American Spirituality, is underscored again and again as the lovestruck cowboy, Curley, sings of his envisioned future with his beloved "farmer's daughter". In the chorus he proclaims "we know we belong to the land" and envisions the perfection in moments sitting with Laurey watching a hawk circling in the sky with "the wheat wavin' in the wind."
Beyond the infatuation of the romantic love being portrayed is, perhaps, yet another artistic rendering of the universal intuitive perception of our ultimate interdependence in the web of life. In an era where many of us are increasingly separated from nature by the veil of technology, I'm glad that Thich Nhat Hanh and others refer us back to being Mindful of the natural world that we flow from, flow through, and flow into as our flesh and bones return to Mother Earth for recycling.
When Jesus recommended that we consider the lilies of the field, I don't think he was just making a
point about fundamental trust. He had spend 40 days in the wilderness, perhaps more than once by then. Like Lao Tse before him, the Way unfolded as Jesus retreated to pray and meditate, to encounter God in the arms of Mother Nature. Buddha sat under a tree and his enlightenment emerged with the morning star.
In this era where more and more of us are wired to personal media --even while outside --this is an aspect of Practice that, I think, is important to remember. Over the years I've found that the majesty and vastness of it all can become quite apparent as we unplug from "civilization" and surround ourselves with the earth and sky, the sun and moon. As we become more proficient at "getting out of our heads" (yes, that means taking the earphones off), as we become more able to actually "come to our senses" with full awareness, just a good walk can be Transformative. Even in the midst of buildings and sidewalks and the like, Mother Nature doesn't really take "no" for an answer. She's irrepressibly Present out there. Just stop, look, and listen.
To recast Bob Dylan's line, with Practice, sometimes "the answer, my friend, is the wind blowing."
Nothing more. Nothing less.
I like it when that happens.