Often our culture equates caring about the planet with envisioning what could go wrong. (Think of dire visions of societal breakdown, disaster, and ruin — Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, for example.)

The Road is a powerful novel, but one can express love for our planet and our land in ways other than fear of a horrific outcome. (Imagine if the only way we could appreciate a loved one was to imagine his or her annihilation.) Music especially has this ability to express love, and perhaps the best "environmental" song I heard this year comes from a unique record called Songs of Shiloh.

Songs of ShilohReportedly found in a cassette demo tape on the floor of a small recording studio in northern California, these songs from an unknown singer named Shiloh inspired songwriter Marty Axelrod and singer Nicole Gordon to gorgeous results. Especially memorable to those who sometimes go walking in the woods will be "Church," which matches soaring vocals to the gentlest sort of love for what we call nature — or something else.

Take a look at the lyrics below the fold — or better yet, listen to the song (mp3 file).

Close my eyes, start out with a hymn
Life is here right now, I have only to join in

Sun through the trees like stained glass on fire
Birds sing together in harmony like a choir
Buzzing of the bees like gossip on the morning
Breeze in the leaves like an old pump organ

Wish everyone could be here in church with me
Sittin’ this close to God, it feels like church …