The wealth of any ecosystem is its perennials. The primal herbivore-predator-disturbance-rest dance is literally the breath and pulse of the earth. Grasses recycle oxygen far more efficiently than trees. The turnover is faster. Grass reaches out and turns solar energy into carbon. Tillage hyper-aerates the soil, burning out carbon. But because a plant creates bilateral symmetry at the soil horizon, it sloughs off root mass when the top gets chopped off.
Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans have been living for hundreds of thousands of years in their forest, living fantastic lives, never overpopulating, never destroying the forest. I would say that they have been in a way more successful than us as far as being in harmony with the environment.
All the time I was getting closer to animals and nature, and as a result, closer to myself and more and more in tune with the spiritual power that I felt all around. For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can even describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected. The beauty was always there, but moments of true awareness were rare. They would come, unannounced; perhaps when I was watching the pale flush preceding dawn; or looking up through the rustling leaves of some giant forest tree into the greens and browns and the black shadows and the occasionally ensured bright fleck of blue sky; or when I stood, as darkness fell, with one hand on the still warm trunk of a tree and looked at the sparkling of an early moon on the never still, softly sighing water of Lake Tanganyika.
I became totally absorbed into this forest existence. It was an unparalleled period when aloneness was a way of life; a perfect opportunity, it might seem, for meditating on the meaning of existence and my role in it all.
We can move water easily with plastic pipes. We can move shade around with nursery cloth like a tinker toy for animals and plants. Yet we have developed this necessity to grow food with chemical fertiliser because we have forgotten the magic of manure.