June 20, 2009 – I was dreamily watching the bamboo next to my house sway in the breeze this morning, filling me with joy beyond measure.
I had nearly forgotten that the woman who owns the property on the other side of the gut bordering ours nearly robbed me of that joy a year ago.
One Saturday morning, just after returning from my first trip to Rwanda, I heard chopping and hacking noises directly below my bedroom window. Upon investigation I encountered an angry man armed with machete and hacksaw, tearing down the gentle, green sentinels.
When I asked him what he was doing, he replied, "It’s none of your business."
I called the police and stood as best I could between the hacker and the innocent grasses.
There’s much more to the story, and it gets uglier, but the point is, these intrusions happen every day. People have viscous dogs running lose that maim or kill other people’s animals or worse other people.
Neighbors party noisily well into the night with no regard for those who don’t.
Motorists pull up to the beaches blaring their car stereos, apparently assuming everyone shares their taste for loud, obtrusive music.
Drivers honk their horns a nano second after the light changes.
Homeowners start their saws and hammers at the crack of dawn on Sundays, assuming they are the only people who can hear them.
The list goes on.
All of these things large or small, cause pain, adrenalin rushes, anger, frustration, cultural friction and sometime serious, vindictive and violent reactions.
At best, we walk around with a low level of anger and resentment all the time, sometimes without realizing it, or understanding the cause.
Each of us has the responsibility as a species sharing the same small planet, and in the case of the Virgin Islands, the same small islands to think about the other sentient beings around us.
The highest level of spirituality: treat others as you wish to be treated. Consider those around you and how your behavior impacts them.
If we are to grow as a society, find peace for ourselves, and raise children who no longer see killing as the solution, this is the requirement.