Today, Earth Day 2022, I sit in quiet calm. The sun is finding its footing through the spreading branches of the alder outside my window. Soon, in weeks, if not days, its footing will fail, almost, as the leaves finish filling out Alder’s headdress and leaving only the tree’s shadow. The cool shade will come soon enough, as the days start to warm, and it will be there that I’ll seek to sit. Quite amazing how the Earth Mother times these things just right. Today, though, the days are still chilly here in the Northwest, and only not yet warm enough to satisfy my thinned frame.
I’m inside right now. There’s a couple small ants coursing across my table in search of a morsel to take back to their nest, always working for the whole, working for their community. I watch them. I’ve always loved ants. As children, when my brothers glued model airplanes together, I glued model ants and bees and other insects.
I just sit in my calm quiet, reflecting on the beauty of this spinning globe, seeing what I see, hearing what I hear, floating on memories of previous times when I slowed enough to absorb this miraculous, mysterious, spellbinding creation spinning through a universe so vast. I too forget to appreciate it.
From where I sit, I can hear the lyrics of a bird’s song, something so enchanting, fascinating, that they can make such trills and whistles and clicks with barely opening their mouths, some sort of unseen process delivering such extraordinary music.
New leaves are budding. Most noticeably to me are the droops of maple flowers that burst open, shooting outwards their new opposing leaves and to its sides draping corymbs of pentamerous flowers. It’s true, I cheated to find these wonderful words. “Pentamerous” sounds very amorous.
Almost mirroring the color of the salmon berry blossoms, there’s a young quince tree on the property with magenta blossoms, sharing too-close of space with a young lilac that will flower by the time the quince ends its blossoming. All the while, the grass is growing after a long winter and will continue to grow tall enough to wave to the world in the wind – to reveal the invisibility of a wind we feel but is only revealed in its waving, symbiotic relationship with the trees and fields to say, “Now do you see me?”
A vision I only hold in my mind’s eye, at this moment: I revisit the sun’s rays as it glistens and dances on a smooth glassy warm southern ocean. From there, I’m immediately transported to a deep pool I came across wandering in the countryside outside of Oslo, Norway. It too was glassy, but dark, almost black in the shade of trees but more so from years of autumn leaves dropping into its waters, rotting. The newest contributions, oranges and reds and burnt peach colored leaves, lay on the water’s edge of that gladed pond. If I were to step into its darkness, my toes would squish and sink into the silkiest of mucky mud, though I know I’d also feel the sticks and twigs that had not yet rotted. I’m touching the circle and exchange of life. The changes that never cease.
Water skeeters shoot across the still surface, taking me to my childhood, where I was forever wondering how do they walk on water? Magic water walkers. And turtles — that I visit again only in my imagination in this moment because I never seem to see them living in the Northwest, but there in my mind they sit on logs, sometimes in a row, and yet I’ve never seen how they manage to climb up out of the water onto those round logs with their cumbersome shells. The frogs speak, more so as evening nears, but occasionally allowing me to catch them almost hidden, sitting on lily pads or the edge of a reed. They have magic feet too. The pond frogs then rush me to Hawai’i where I hear the coming evening burst into the loud coquies choir.
Back in the gladed forest floor, I’m drawn to the beauty of a rotting log and all the activity going on. Home to grubs and ants and beetles and fungi, left alone, they devour the log, allowing it to fall back to its children’s roots, nourishing its offspring, like a breast given to a child. Those logs are often called nurse logs for a reason.
Bees buzz by, working away, harvesting nectar and loading pollen onto their legs until they’re almost too heavy to take off and fly back to their hive, where in some magical transformation, they turn the nectar into honey for the workers and royal jelly to feed their queen, to feed their brood. I’m witness to a community working together.
I’ll avoid exploring the science behind their magic, for that would take me away from the moment. Instead, I’ll return to the meadow that is out my window, and I’ll just sit. In peace. I’ll still the cacophony of my endless parade of thoughts, and I’ll just be in this moment, removed from man’s world that’s happening out there somewhere, a world that has forgotten to stop and observe and receive this beauty. Instead, I will bring it all into my core and hold it, seeing it as the world I wish to live in, created in my mind’s eye, the place I can return to and visit in those moments most needed.
And I’ll invite the world to join me and walk out into this beauty!
Happy Earth Day, Mother Earth.