In my experience of this week many ideas, thoughts, perspectives and feelings surfaced. Spending time on the beach, near the ocean will do that. Enjoying that space with children and grandchildren adds another layer of fun and joy. Finishing a book (Anne Lamott’s, “Hallelujah Anyway”) and beginning another (James E. Ryan’s. “Wait, What?) brings a completion and new beginning…which doesn’t even begin to get to the rich content in each book.
At the beach, we laughed, played, took pictures and talked of the challenges of life, while watching the children play in then sand. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the little sand crabs are peeking out of the safety of their homes, sometimes scurrying to another safe place; all the while we are taking in these most precious moments of nature in all its forms and colors. And WE are nature, too.
Perhaps we forget that WE are nature when we are busily engaging our surroundings, the people, the waves of the ocean water as they gently or angrily fall upon the sand. Perhaps we forget WE are nature when we are keeping a watchful eye on the children to ensure they are safe. Perhaps we forget WE are nature when we speak of the past memories – those that hold healing for us if only we will visit, objectively, those experiences in the safe space of another’s heart.
Yet, WE are ALL nature.
This became very clear as I noticed the footprints in the sand.
I was reminded of the natural process of the tides. At the next high tide, the waters will wipe the slate clean. The footprints will be gone. Perhaps a few natural treasures will be left behind. When the waters recede, the slate is clean and ready for the foot prints of people, birds, dogs, or the large and small swaths left behind by turtles and crabs as they traverse the surface.
On this Earth Day, I cannot help but wonder how many more opportunities we have to have the slate wiped clean, if we do not choose to make changes to our habits; if we do not actively take part in the nurture and care of our bodies through the choices we make about our food, the disposition of waste we create and the destruction of so many surfaces of our earth to make way for developments of all kinds.
What I know is that if we do nothing to slow down, observe the beauty of what we have (including the miracle of the bodies we have for this journey), and heal our wounds, we will not be contributing healing and health to our world. There are many who would take us backwards, to the dirty habits that have contributed to the very conditions that we have today, rather than leading us in a direction of healing, care and nurturing of our planet. And yet, all of the yelling and screaming about this will not make any real difference. The quiet work that we do for ourselves and our communities make the contributions which matter the most. As a matter of perspective, the definition of community for any one of us is different. For example, scientists who study aspects of our planet’s condition and do research on ways to heal it are definitely working at the level of community. Those who recycle and choose to eat foods which are not processed, are not tampered with (GMOs, e.g.) and are whole are working at the level of community.
Community is at any level that is fitting for YOU. All contributions make a difference.
Truly we CAN make a difference, with a small step each day.
Just for today…choose one thing to do differently. Begin to sort your trash. Choose to prepare a meal that begins with whole, unprocessed foods to nurture your body.
Then tomorrow, choose that thing again. Let this become a habit so that it becomes your practice — for you and for the planet.
Add another thing…then see your life change; then see the policy makers begin to change; then see the planet heal.
We CAN do this.
Our footprints in the sand can be wiped clean and we can tread ever so softly on this treasure of a planet that is our temporary home.
Let’s leave it better than we found it.