Earth Day

Today’s Facebook feed is filled with admonitions, chastisements, calls-to-action–all ostensibly in support of Earth Day, an event designed to inspire our growing human population to take care of our planet so it can continue to take care of us. A noble cause, but one that, like so much else in a consumption-driven culture, feels like it has take a wrong turn somewhere. So instead of bullying you to sign petitions, cut your resource usage, buy logo-emblazoned “green” merchandise, I want to offer you an invitation:

Let’s each of us take five minutes (more if you have them), go  outside, and have a look around. Look for something from nature–even in the thickest, most urban city, there’s a good chance you can at least see the sky. Once you find it, let’s take a few slow breaths.

Inhale. Pause. Exhale. Pause.

Inhale. Pause. Exhale. Pause.

Inhale. Pause. Exhale. Pause.

Then, from that space of calm, imagine your most precious experience in nature. Perhaps it’s  a childhood trip to Yosemite, standing at the base of the falls, hair dampened by the mist. Maybe it’s sitting on a balcony watching the sun set in crimson, purple and gold. Maybe it’s a meteor shower, a full moon, mornings by the lake, the first time you saw a wild pitcher plant in a Minnesota marsh, the first downhill run through virgin show. Or maybe it’s a place–one you visit from time to time that always feels like home. Whatever it is, live in it for a moment. Feel what makes it so memorable, so valuable. Give it a name if you can.  Call it freedom, mountain, connection, water, discovery, red-tailed hawk, wonder, sky, dirt, joy… Once it’s named, write it down on a piece of paper, put it in your pocket, and carry it with you for the rest of the day–or longer. And if you get a chance, share it. In the comments, on Facebook, face to face. With  written words or paintbrush or photos or voice.

Our strongest moments and most meaningful actions come from this place of love, joy, reverence. Let these things be what guide us as we hold these memories, and let us be open to any quiet voice inviting us in our own way to care for and protect what we love.

Yosemite Valley, 2014
Yosemite Valley, 2014

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