The Forest and the Fire-Keeper Louisa Willcox Posted December 13, 2010 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/lwillcox/the_forest_and_the_fire-keeper.html Whitebark pine, Part 3 (See Part 1 and Part 2) Recently, a friend introduced me to a book called The Global Forest by (yet another woman) Diane Beresford-Kroeger, a botanist and medical bio-chemist from Canada. In the bookâ€™s final essay, â€œThe Forest and Fire-Keeper,â€ Kroeger spoke of â€œfire-keepersâ€ as keepers of the old legends, according to the First Nations, the aboriginal people of North America. In their oral tradition, the â€œfire-keepersâ€ gather the wisdom and are the â€œkeepers of the legends.â€ They are charged, too, with the memory of prophecy. Beresford-Kroeger related an ancient story of a prophesy for Mother Nature, the complex, intricate web of life. In this prophesy, according to the legend of the fire-keepers, the timeline of major change will happen at the time of the â€œgreat dyingâ€ of the North American sugar maples (a phenomenon which is actually happening now). â€œThis dying,â€ she says, â€œis the beginning of the timeline of the destruction of nature.â€ Beresford-Kroeger goes on to say: â€œThe rape of nature has then begun. Other trees will succumb to various infestations. The loss of forests will foreshadow a period of devastation. People will not realize what they have done, but they will continue in their path of demolition. From the peoples of today will rise another new generation of children. These children will be different from all those who came before. These children will have many gifts. They will be able to do extraordinary things. Primarily these children will have the gift of telepathy across the globeâ€¦ They will understand and comprehend what their parents have doneâ€¦ Then the children of this generation will want to help the planet and nature in a collective way. They will hold hands across the planet in their minds. They will alter their parentsâ€™ ways. They will encourage one another. In this circle of life the children will save their parents through a dream and through a prophesy. In saving their parents they will save the planet.â€ Beresford-Kroeger says this legend was told orally, â€œbefore electricity at a time when the sugar maples were healthy and producing copious quantities of sap for maple sugar.â€ The author concludes: â€œThe children exist. They have been taught a better mode of planetary management. The consumerism in their lives were holes of unbearable solitude. They are already reaching for something else, something elusive, something that is colorblind to race. It is called dignity, the dignity of life, all life.â€ Ah, just as I thought: the future of whitebark pine and what we chose to do about the current catastrophe prompts reflection on an ancient, wise concept: the dignity of life. A concept too often forgotten amidst the screaming on TV and radio talk shows, Fox News, iPods, and all the gadgets we distract ourselves with. How can we remember the importance of dignity, and put it into action moment by moment, day by day, in our interactions with each other and the land? How can we create a culture with the wisdom and compassion to save and nurture life? It all starts at a personal level, I think, with an individual commitment to a practice that keeps the idea of dignity -- for self and others -- at our core, so it becomes, over time, the well-spring of daily activities. Maybe we need to turn to and learn from the younger ones now â€“ some, whom I have had the good fortune to meet, certainly have the wisdom that we sorely need. If we fail, what hope is there for us, the whitebark pine, and all the other species that comprise this interdependent web of life? Preserving the dignity of life may, when the story is fully told, turn out to be a core principle that all our lives depend on. O.K. children, step to the front and â€œdo-si-doâ€! I'm thinking that the internet & 3 & 4G smart phones are connecting us together "Electronic Telepathy" maybe there will be a rise conscienceless for all life on this world.