I went for a long, long walk yesterday. A walk was perfect on a warm holiday Sunday, clear sky above and bits of green pushing against the mounds of winter debris. I passed young women in chick-yellow dresses, dads leading boisterous children through the park, old men with canes in hand, everyone out and about, enjoying the sun and the cool breezes down by the creek:
Friday was Earth Day. I could feel a change. The air smelled like spring, fresh, new, almost like a sigh of relief that maybe, just maybe, our long winter had come to an end.
I have always believed that Earth and everything in and on her is alive. I assume the rocks breathe and sing, trees hold wisdom. It makes sense to me that ancient things absorb the energy surrounding them and that energy is life. Others believe it, too, as Robyn explains in her April 15th blog post.
Many think these ideas are foolish, political, idealistic drivel. (Although why the belief that Earth is a living entity is any sillier than giving corporations the same rights as people is beyond me.) Still, it's easy enough to see the harm overuse, abuse or a simple lack of care and attention to your resources can do. All you need is a bit of fleece.
Find yourself some nice fleece, lightly washed perhaps, but otherwise unprocessed. Find yourself some roving from a similar animal. Compare the two. Notice how the fleece retains more bounce, character, more life, if you will. Wash it gently, spin it as is or with careful combing or carding and you'll have a lively yarn which retains the characteristics of the original fibres. The roving, no matter how carefully prepared, loses life and character with each treatment it undergoes. It's still usable; it can give you a nice yarn, but it won't retain the hand of the original wool.
Now take some of the fleece or the roving and abuse it. Soak it in some harsh laundry detergent, drop it in a bit of bleach or just stomp on it for a while. The wool shrivels and shrinks. It becomes brittle. It may even dissolve. You might get a yarn from it, but it won't be pleasant and it likely won't last long.
If we understand the difference that care and attention makes to our yarns and fabrics, why is it difficult to connect our actions with their effects on this planet? Well, you say, the fleece isn't alive; it doesn't feel our care or abuse. Besides, there's always more wool. Perhaps, but why abuse what we have in this moment? Suppose we extend our harsh treatment to the animal itself? If we don't take care of those animals, we will soon be without wool (and perhaps the creatures, too). Take care of what we're given and our creatures respond in kind. So will our planet.
We can't fix everything. No one is asking us all to live in caves or head back to the land. Being human means living a life full of contradictions and our actions won't always match our intentions. But one small act a day, like a simple daily kindness, adds up. Pick up one piece of garbage on the sidewalk, recycle one more container and there's a bit less trash blowing about.
Personal action also means steady, mindful insistence that those with power behave responsibly. We need to speak out when others poison the Earth and us with it. We must do this so that we can enjoy our passions and so that we can enjoy more of this:
And even this goofy guy:
Go outside. Take a long walk. Treasure life. See you when I get back!