I was shown something the other day. In one way I had the feeling that I knew this already. But in another way, it shocked me.
I mulled it over for an entire day. And still land on it at times.
The Earth as a rational, sentient wholeness that can not only live in harmony with Man, but can understand his needs and respond to them.
I spent my childhood sitting in fields of long grass and walking miles through the soft woods, stopping by small ponds with egrets standing in them. Watching foxes and chipmunks, deer and even moose sometimes flit across the path or play peek-a-boo behind the leaves.
I always felt that I had a very active relationship with nature.
Jokingly I would say that sailing and cross-country skiing (even snowshoeing) proved the existence of God to me.
Seeing the little mouse trails under the snow in the winter.
Watching the frustrating and taxing relationships between mother bird and her chicks.
My dog who one day killed my rabbit. It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.
A dog who as a puppy was afraid of butterflies coming too near him.
All those years of peace and harmony ending one day in a fast movement caught by an even faster one.
The only thing about nature I was stuck on was bugs. But even they went away in the wintertime.
And all there was to do was sweep their carcasses out of the window frame.
But this was a different Mother Nature. This was a deeper knowledge of her.
Her ability to solve.
Not just chug along in a factory-like way.
But reaching up and helping us.
Well, helping those of us who lived in harmony with her. Who knew her smells, and her bells, and her whimpers.
Who, in our own way, reached down or up, to clean a little something here and there.
Who knew that we were walking on her because she allowed us to.
To think of what we have been missing all this time.
To look back in time and see that cultures tried to sanctify this precious relationship, but clearly misunderstood it.
As though Mother Nature needs some form of formalized worship. Dancing. Or candles.
When she would probably prefer having a stream unclogged. Or a trapped animal freed.
We have completely given up on the idea that we receive gifts from Mother Nature. That everything that we have comes from her.
It’s like being a teenager out on his own for the first time and realizing how much his parents did for him while he was at home. And how much wasn’t being done for him now.
Except we never seem to care how much we are not getting from Mother Nature by living “above” her. Or “on” her. And not “with” her.
I was shown that Mother Nature wasn’t just a supplier of goods, but as a living force who can save us from danger. Or help us when we are in need.
Do we know this?
How do we reach out to her?
In a way, it’s what Francis of Assisi tried to tell us. Here is his Canticle of Brother Moon and Sister Sun:
Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, all praise is yours, all glory, all honor and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Praised be you my Lord with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, who is the day through whom you give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor, of you Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars, in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
Praised be you, my Lord, through Brothers’ Wind and Air, and fair and stormy, all weather’s moods, by which you cherish all that you have made.
Praised be you my Lord through Sister Water, so useful, humble, precious, and pure.
Praised be you my Lord through Brother Fire, through whom you light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be you my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praise be you my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of you and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace, by you Most High, they will be crowned.
Praised be you, my Lord through Sister Death, from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Blessed are they she finds doing your will.
No second death can do them harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give him thanks, and serve him with great humility.
It’s perfect, really. God created the Earth. God created this massive, amazing life force to feed us and provide us with what we need for shelter and warmth.
And encompassed in this creation of God is his force to do more than just sustain us. To actively care for us. To know where we are in our lives and to walk alongside of us.
Today we pay to have our preborn children chopped up so we have nothing preventing us from going out every night and living a wild life.
And this is how we treat Mother Earth. The encapsulation of our living God.
We plow her up and chop her down so we can pursue what we think will make us happy.
God the Father, to whom we pray and from whom we receive guidance, has given us a friend in nature.
A profoundly deeply caring friend.
That we have to be taught to appreciate.
And care for.