Sunday, August 16, 2009

What’s It All About?

I believe that everything starts from a philosophy, but it seems to me that so much of our life is gone before we have, as an individual, developed a philosophy. Just what is a personal philosophy? Is it some course taken in a college classroom or some path we chose to achieve financial success or public acclaim? Did your parents or someone you admire lead you to it? Surely, a baptism as an infant didn’t cause it – so when did you reflect on your life and adopt or develop a plan with an overall vision of your life’s purpose? If so, how old were you when this philosophy was reflected in your actions? Did you or have you stuck to your philosophy?

Philosophy is not necessarily your religion. However, all faiths share principles that are certainly vital to any plan for our lives. Thomas Jefferson said, “Ask me not about my religion, let my life reflect it.” In essence, our lives should reflect our beliefs – to me that’s a philosophy!

Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve exists here today and into the future because of my own philosophy and that of my soul mate, Margaret, who joined me in 1992. Life seems so short when you find yourself alone at 81. When you no longer share excitement over every detail of your day with someone who loves and respects every living thing as you do and is willing to share it with everyone, but my personal philosophy has sustained me through these difficult times.

As a child I well remember how poor we all were, except for Jackie whose father had a job on the railroad. So Jackie was the only source of a ball and bat. Each day we waited anxiously for Jackie to come out and, of course, bring his ball and bat. But Jackie was not any good at any part of the game and so was always the last to be chosen. I didn’t ponder this until later in my life as my personal philosophy developed. One day Jackie came out, but quickly announced that since he owned the ball and bat he got to make the rules for the game. He would get four strikes, have to run only two bases, choose the teams, etc.... It wasn’t long at all before no one sat on the curb waiting for Jackie and therefore there was no one for him to play with. The moral of this true life story is that he who owns the ball and bat and makes all the rules without sharing will play a lonely game. Thus, another part of my personal philosophy was born.

I was ecstatic a few weeks ago to be told that money was being raised by our Board of Directors for an 81st birthday present for me. It was to be a surprise, but you know how difficult that is.... There is absolutely nothing I need and I’m quite frugal having been born into poverty and from a very early age probably unconsciously listed the first part of my personal philosophy which has continued with me to this day and that is “don’t buy things you don’t really need and don’t buy on credit.” So another component of my personal philosophy was born.

So what’s it all about? My personal philosophy sustained me throughout the biggest part of my 81 years. A big part of that philosophy has to do with my responsibility to Mother Nature and my relationship and connection to all living things. The Board of Directors of Selah are volunteers. They are people who see the value to society to protect land from fragmentation, to respect all living things, and to share this treasure of 5,500 acres with others. With their help and perhaps yours, too, this institution represented by this beautiful stone, my 81st birthday present, will be here forever.

This big stone had been laid aside from the others. It weighed over 2,000 pounds. Leroy Petri, Ranch Engineer, chained it to his loader in order to lift it since it was too big to fit in the bucket. Photograph taken by J. David.

All the stone was quarried here on the ranch – enough to build 25 houses! Photograph taken by J. David.

A concrete footer had to be poured to hold the monument upright. Photograph taken by J. David.

We had to hire a professional to do the engraving which required sand blasting with an air compressor. Photograph taken by J. David.

The final product (front view) as you drive through the gate. The lines at the bottom represent water. We plan to add some real big honeycomb rocks around the base and ends along with native lantanas. They are less susceptible to being eaten by deer. Photograph taken by J. David.

You see this side as you leave the ranch. We’ve adopted this as our logo: the oryx, grass, maple tree leaf and a bat. Photograph taken by J. David.


Susan and Jerry said...

What a wonderful Birthday present. Thank you sharing it with all of us who read your blog and wish you well. Know that Margaret is looking down on Selah with a big smile. Hope to see you soon, Jerry & Susan

Sallie said...

What a great present. Thanks for all your blogs and efforts to preserve the native habitat and to educate others. You Rock!