Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Earth Speaks

We were winding up our conference, we dowsers drawn from far and wide across this Continent. There was packing up and then closing ceremonies and a long drive ahead of me this evening. But first, I would take time to visit the irises I only now had time to give notice. I told my friends as much, and so while they made way for the dining hall, I headed toward the pond-side bed, camera in hand.

The iris had finished blooming at home: ditto the peonies, the lilac, the poppies. But we'd come far enough north--45 minutes or so from the Canadian Border, in fact--to see them all over again. I'd thought I'd have to wait another year for that: what a treat! Add lupine, in their prime, all over these parts, and you have the picture of my little piece of heaven, Vermont style.

I shot the iris, with and without bees, then tried a few lupine, companioned by Queen Anne's Lace. It was hot this day, and the full sun here was quite cooking me. But some tiny balloon flowers detained me a bit longer. I'd seen these along the roadside at home: a weed back there, but featured here, alongside the more familiar, cultivated perennials. They're tiny, prolific little blossoms that I was curious to see larger, so I snapped them, from just about every angle. Then I plucked a portion of one cluster, to run it by my friend who knows her wild flowers: I was banking on her knowing its name.

"Bladder campion," she informed me, and so now I could name my newest love, this milky flower within a flower. They're easy to adore, with their wild whimsy. Yet they are easy to miss; like the ferns in a rose bouquet, they're backdrop to the featured flowers. But what distinctive features, what personality a closer look revealed!

At home, I shared my views with a friend. I got more and more excited tabbing through them:

"I look at these and wonder how I could ever be depressed even for a moment. There are marvels like these all around us, all the time!"

She laughed a bit, but she got it: she could see it too. Intricate, exotic, flamboyant: all this in a common, unassuming weed!

Routinely, we destroy plants like these, all in the name of develop-
ment, all for the sake of our strip malls, our industries, our lawns. It is to be expected, right? These privileges come with our "First World" ranking, no?

Certainly we have come to think so. But more and more I hear the humblest of life forms around me telling another story. They remind me that we are guests on this planet. The earth preceded us, and we are its custodians. Dominion is not ours, though we have assumed it. We have exerted our influence to the extreme, and we are right now paying extremely for that.

The Native American people lived and worked in harmony, in communion with the land and its inhabitants, showing due respect. When did this change? Was it with the Industrial Age? The Information Age? I suppose it changed whenever, wherever entitlement and greed stepped in.

In two- and four-legged creature alike, the skin makes tracks to vent an infection festering beneath it. The open cysts that result are not so much an ailment as a symptom of the body's attempts to heal itself. The system is wise this way.

Our native people know: the earth has always spoken to us; it speaks to us still. It seems to me our earth is shouting to us these days. She is issuing warning after warning as she efforts to rebalance herself. These are not commentaries on our destruction, where we have accomplished that. They are acts of earth Wisdom Itself.

Our earth does not hang in the balance during these extraordinary times. It is we, her guests, who do. This because we have, when we have, misbehaved. We have, when we have, abused her magnanimity, her hospitality. I think it is time for us to remember our place, to return to gratitude, respect, and balance. If not, our benevolent host will have to shake us off like fleas, and go on alone.


Anonymous JB said...

great post, KD. thank you.

9:51 AM  

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