The first truly warm day of the Spring here in Maryland found me lying on a rock, barefoot, reading. I did this for about forty minutes, before I decided to walk back to the apartment. When I stood up, an earthly sleight of hand had occurred. I had a tremendous feeling of peace. My shoulders, often the repository of stress and holders of many feelings as I transition from student to graduate, toward fatherhood, into the world of serving the health and well-being of those around me, were drawn toward the ground. Tremendous relaxation and ease. I’d not felt like this in ages. Despite all the thoughts I’ve been having as I hover in my chrysalis, I felt peace and connection. No longer separate.
I am of the Earth.
The sweet child of mine that is lodged in its own little cocoon for the next five months will emerge in a world that I have some say in creating for it. And let me tell you, with all the information and opinions, this time of gestation has been at once exciting and exasperating.
For thousands upon thousands of years, people have been giving birth without books telling them what to do, without folks treating it like a surgery, without experts conflicting about sleep position, sleeping place, vaccinations, feeding. Indeed, without experts. Somehow we got here without a whole lot of fear-mongering, though if you walk into a McBaby-A-Thon Galleria you will find product after product designed to strike fear in your heart. It made me wonder how I survived childhood without twenty straps on my stroller. We also got here without television. When I’ve mentioned that I’d rather not have my child exposed to television perhaps for a couple years, I have received looks of derision like I had killed their best friend. In fact, I was betraying my best friend, for I have watched more than my fair share of television.
The Western mindset is my foe, a new friend told me. As I get more in resonance with Ma Nature, I am finding that I am growing more in tune to my genuine, authentic nature. From this connection will come the ability to nurture deeply.
Last week, I watched the second episode of “All in the Family.” In it, Rob Reiner was writing a letter to President Nixon about the terrible water and air pollution that were creating major issues in the environment. Sara commented to me that the show was really ahead of its time. I said, “That was forty years ago. Look where we are now. It’s the same fight.” Perhaps we’re behind the times. Perhaps we’ve hit the irreversible tipping point.
I don’t know.
What I do know is that we have to listen to politicians and their corporate sponsors play Russian roulette with our health and well-being as they try and try again to get rid of regulations that prevent pollution. Apologists go so far as to say that the more pollution, the more carbon dioxide for the trees to convert to oxygen. But when you’re also clear cutting all the forests…
The Western mindset is our foe. It is a way of thinking that separates us from the Earth, as though we are some alien species that has landed here and will be jumping in our spaceship after plundering the resources of this hunk of rock. What we do not claim to see as a culture – as we build ever larger homes with postage stamp yards, as we sprinkle chemicals that require a warning sign to keep kids and animals away from the grass, as we remove mountaintops to plunder coal while poisoning the water of entire communities – is that no matter how hard we try to sanitize and brick and mortar ourselves away from the natural world, we are still a part of it.
If we dump toxins into the water, we poison our own bloodstream. If we send indiscriminate amounts of smoke into the air, we pollute our own lungs. If we cross a pesticide with a tomato, we manipulate our own genes.
We are not separate.
We are of the Earth.
And the reality to which we should pay attention is that Planet Earth does not require us to survive. It was here long before us. It will be here long after us. Until the sun implodes.
We can reconnect with the planet. Reroot ourselves. Plant our feet on it and feel its energy flow through us.
Or we can disregard it and hasten our own extinction.
I, for one, like it here. I like that I am growing more confident as I discard the Western mindset that is pounded into us whenever we awaken from slumber. I like that I am not on the Earth. I am of the Earth.
In fact, I am the Earth.
And so are you.
Happy Earth Day 2011!