Could there be anything more worthwhile celebrating?
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest on twelve acres of land, half in pasture and orchard, half in woods. As a child, nature was my chief companion, so to pick out only one day, Earth Day, to honor our remarkable island in space, this blue marble, seems now ironic and almost superfluous. Shouldn’t we always be living some kind of hymn of praise to sunlight, running streams, the cycle of days and nights and seasons as we turn and turn through a wilderness of stars?
Unofficial Earth Day Flag
It demands, doesn’t it, that we find the living connections between the reaches of the human spirit and the reaches of all that which surrounds us. A friend of mine many years ago said: “We think we know what nature is because we have eyes, ears, touch, taste, and smell. But we only have these five senses, so we experience only so much. Our knowledge is limited. If we had more senses, nature would seem even more complex to us, and that much more beautiful as well.” So, yes, we have the five, and intuitively, I believe we know there is more, an invisible, “unsensed” more. Indigenous wisdom and poetry seem to best tap these unsensed and unknown aspects.
Unlike other religious traditions which celebrate at separate times to everyday life a revelatory event in the long distant past, the Dreamtime of Aboriginal spiritual practice is celebrated and lives in whatever exists and transpires in the present — in all aspects of Creation, in an eternal now. In this sense all time exists in the present moment and all life — the Spirit Ancestors, the Earth, the Cosmos and all species — are aspects of an inherited divine order and are thus sacramental. There is no ‘thing’ in Aboriginal consciousness that is ‘nothing’. There is no aspect, no creature — be it a dung beetle, a poisonous snake or a human being — that does not have its place and its role to play in the ordained sacred pattern of Creation. There are no gods, no religious hierarchies, no segregation of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, no unsavoury bits, and no separation between the physical and the spiritual or nature, humanity, and culture. All came into being at the one time, and all of these dimensions are reflections of each other.
–Anna Voigt and Nevill Drury, Wisdom from the Earth: The Living Legacy of the Aboriginal Dreamtime
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
— Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems (Volume One)
Blue Marble Day. A day to see and honor the stunning patterns of the universe that surround us and our place in the family of things. Let’s learn how to partner with those patterns, what is yet unknown and what is possible. Surely we can learn together how to save this thing.