Ray Grigg

Silent Sun: An environmental allegory

Boastful Rain, Blustery Wind and Silent Sun were in the sky one day discussing the qualities of power

Boastful Rain, Blustery Wind and Silent Sun were in the sky one day discussing the qualities of power when they saw Man in a coat walking below them.

“If you want me to show you power,” said Rain with a great thunderous hiss, “watch me wash that coat off his back.” So Rain hovered over Man with an ominous dark cloud and sent a torrential deluge upon him. But Man just fastened the buttons of his coat, pulled down his hat and kept walking.

“Aha,” said Wind with a great echoing whisper, “I’ll show you what power is. Watch me blow that coat off his body.” So Wind summoned all its unseasonal strength and blew with all its might. But Man just fastened his buttons more securely, pulled down his hat even tighter and kept walking.

When the storms of Rain and Wind had passed, Silent Sun just smiled, shone brightly, and Man unbuttoned his coat and took it off.

Rain’s great hissing bravado quickly subsided to a distant mist, and Wind’s great echoing pride soon calmed to a gentle breeze. That’s when Sun spoke quietly to Rain and Wind.

“Power,” said Sun, “is a dangerous force. If I use too much of it, I can burn Man, scorch the land, dry the rivers, ignite the forests and wither crops. So I must find the place between too much and too little. And if each season is to be itself, this requires just the right amount of shining.”

“If I think only of Man’s coat,” said Sun reflectively, “I can easily forget everything else. So I must always remember that each thing is connected to all other things. Nothing is separate. The wholeness connecting all things to all other things means that power must think of everything at once. Power that attends to only one thing disturbs the proper order and creates discord.”

“By paying attention to only Man and his coat,” said Sun to Rain with a tone of admonishment, “your great deluge created a torrent of water that washed away soil, flooded a peaceful stream and drowned a farmer’s garden. And Wind, your great display of power uprooted trees, blew down buildings and flattened a farmer’s crop.”

“Too much power is far more dangerous than too little power,” said Sun. “So the best power is to have no power over anything. This is a special power that seems to move within all things, and seems to belong to everything. When power is used according to this principle, influence is balanced, distributed appropriately, and things seem to effortlessly do themselves.”

“But the best power,” said Sun, “is no power. Because this power is not separate from anything, it moves within everything.

“Its only purpose is to help all the differences in the world move together in harmony.”