Blue Mountains National Park and My Alma Mater Offer Respite from 'Kakistocracy'

When was the last time you were in a place so quiet that you could hear a hummingbird's wings as it buzzed past you?

Have you ever had a living jewel in the form of a Doctor Bird come close and inspect you?

By extreme good fortune, I had the privilege of returning to my native land Jamaica, to keynote the 75th anniversary service of my high school February 2. I met the hummingbirds in our friend's lavish gardens that make up the bulk of her estate where we stayed.

I relished the opportunity to remove myself from the kakistocracy (government in which the worst persons are in power) that my adopted country unfortunately resembles at this point. I took refuge in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and sojourned among the orioles and tanagers zooming down from the treetops in the dense forest. I communed in feelings of timelessness, evolution and the natural order of things.

Watching the mist create a constantly changing landscape across the face of Blue Mountains National Park is an unparalled thrill.

The good feelings carried over from the Clarendon College Founder's Day Service a day earlier where I told the 1000 or so rapt faces before me:

" To appreciate the caliber of our founder, the Rev. Lester Davy, consider this story told by his friend and collaborator the Rev. Hughes, ' In Rev Davy's north Clarendon pastorate there was a diseased man who had no house of any sort. At night and in heavy rain, he lay on the bare earth, under a low thatch of coconut boughs. Rev. Davy announced to his church members that he would leave the manse to eat and sleep with the pauper unless they provided him proper shelter.

" 'The people were scandalized but his answer was that if the conditions were unsuitable for a Christian pastor, then they were unsuitable for any human being. His determination was so strong that the people had to build a hut for the destitute man.' "

I focused my talk on the example he set us and the speed with which 50 years elapsed between the time I sat in the seats they occupied, and returning as a 65 year old. I encouraged them to recognize the power of their vision, the importance of relationships, and the privilege of giving back, illustrated through Rev. Davy's life and my own.

I shared that although Rev. Davy was comfortably situated, he cared enough about others sufficiently to establish a school for the children of the poor farmers in our parish. Within a month of the opening he was killed in a train crash on his way to buy books for the school, and an engagement ring for the young woman he planned to marry. Yet his vision was so strong it was taken up by Rev. Hughes and other supporters, ultimately providing an education to thousands of young people including myself.

"Without Clarendon College I can't imagine where I'd be today," I told them. "It was my only chance to get a high school education. Following my passion for writing and being in nature led me to meet President Obama, multiple astronauts, movie stars and entertainers and lead a very satisfying life. But I don't know that any of this could have happened without this school."

The joy I felt being back at my alma mater to help launch another successful 75 years of Rev. Davy's vision was almost inexpressible, and I reminded the students:

"Every human being comes into the world with a divine spark of God. Honor that within yourself, and as Rev. Davy declared he would 'light a candle in Chapelton whose flame shall never be put out,' you will be the keepers of the flame for eternity."

Following this heady experience, next day Frank and I traveled up to the Blue Mountains National Park - designated a World Heritage Site similar to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks, among others. A recounting of this trip will need its own column, but be encouraged when I tell you that the entire experience from start to finish amplified my feelings of wonder and amazement at the mysterious unfolding of life.

Today I'm following in Rev. Davy's footsteps to try and improve the plight of my fellow Earthlings by inviting President Trump and his allies to take a respite as I did, and reconnect with the natural rhythm of the world. A softening of the feelings and a healthy dose of humility are desperately needed. I find those qualities abundant and easily accessible in Nature where I see and feel the Presence of God.