Monday, February 15, 2010

Fresh Air

I'm a country boy. I was brought up in a series of small villages in the English countryside, and went to school surrounded by the wide green slopes of the South Downs. I love the country. I am awed by great mountains and the majestic sweep of great rivers, I am inspired by the wide open spaces of the plains and the vast reach of the oceans, I am as enchanted by the incessant bubble of streams and the timeless, silent beauty of rocks as I am by the infinite variety of animals and plants...

This is why I find it inconceivable to be brought in the inner city, without ever having had the opportunity to breathe the air of the countryside or take a walk in the woods or a forest without a building or a vehicle in sight. I can't begin to imagine how the human imagination can survive in such reduced circumstances, or how the human soul can find its sustenance. I know that mine depend on these things, and that the breath of the natural environment is as essential to me as the food I eat and the air I breathe.

Which is why I ask you, as I rarely do, to join me in supporting the work of the Fresh Air Fund. You'll find their banner and a link in the right hand sidebar of The Buddha Diaries, just a little further down. It's always there, but I only draw attention to it once a year--and now's the time. The organization is preparing its 2010 drive to afford inner city kids the opportunity to learn what you and I know: that all is not noisy streets and traffic, dingy alleys with overflowing trash cans, and backyards--or worse, drugs and violence; that there's a beautiful world out there, and the love of families that care enough to host them for those couple of weeks that can change the way they look at the world and their way of thinking about themselves.

I'm clicking on that link right now, as soon as I'm done, and sending what I can afford. If it's in your heart, please join me and do the same. The universe will thank you and even, quite possibly, reward you for your generosity.

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