Photo credit: Daniel Nueffer, taken at The Morton Arboretum
I know that the awful set-up of a holiday known as Valentine’s Day is over and we have moved on to thinking about St.Patrick’s Day (no, just me?), but allow me a moment to indulge my need to write a love letter to the earth. I’m not doing this to satirize love poetry, or to poke fun at the holiday, but instead highlight the need to appreciate the beauty of the planet which we inhabit, each and every waking moment of our lives, and which supplies our every need.
The moment we are born into this world, we are shrouded into the arms of loved ones. Those arms may leave us temporarily and we may move on to other loves, but one love, the cradle of the very planet we inhabit, holds us from birth to earth. We return to the very thing we are made of, the mixture of carbon and nitrogen that we tread each day, contains the millions of souls which came before us, that whisper to us, “take note.”
We must take note of the beauty, the radiance, and the steadfastness of this planet which has held not only our species, but countless others, many of which we don’t even know exist. We must take note, or our own foolhardy nearsightedness will be our own demise. And this planet, so perfect for life, will carry on without us.
The morning sun greets our eyes to wake us, and we are somehow attuned, (when not plugged in to our devices) to wake up as the sun graces the horizon with its presence. As the day wears on, we engage in the dance of work and play along with every other living creature that soaks in the light and breathes in the air. Somehow, whatever higher power you believe in, some way, of all the chances in the universe we are here, on this great green and blue sphere that can support life.
I stand in awe some days, barely able to move, I am so paralyzed by the greatness of it all and the smallness of me. I feel inadequate. How can I possibly make a difference? How can my little actions somehow impact the vastness of our world when I am only one piece of a much bigger puzzle? It seems so cliché, yet so many have the same feelings that I do. I hope that feeling of smallness doesn’t encourage action, because it has been proven time and time again in the course of human history that enough small actions can create an earthquake of change. I believe it.
The miniscule smallness of a bud unfurling in the spring, just as miraculous and life changing in its beauty as the majestic oak or the graceful sinewy of stallions I can only glimpse from the highway as I roll along in my car, closed off from the world. We are so closed off from the world.
Maybe the key to saving the planet is speaking for it. Bringing people back into the mind-numbing vastness of it all, from the millions of tiny insects which scramble around on the ground, to the open sky above us. It is so worth saving.
How can an earth be so strong as to support the behemoths of industrial development we add to it each day, each minute, each hour? I feel the land beneath the “City of Big Shoulders”, Chicago, begin to shudder under the weight of the muscle it is forced to bear. Deep below, the bones are cracking. It cannot hold much longer.
I love this earth. I love this body of life that we are all somehow blessed to tread upon. I will fight for it. I urge you, write your love letter to the earth. Isn’t there somewhere, in this immensity, something worth saving?