Another Earth Day has gone by. It’s important for the Earth to have her own day. It creates awareness. It also gets commercialized. That’s why I waited before writing about April 22nd. I wanted another reminder even if it’s only two days after.
The Earth needs our daily remembrance.
This blog has always had strong environmental content. Nature spirituality is humanity’s first spirituality, and to this day Nature evokes spirituality. It’s because creation is sacred.
Sacredness is embedded in the heart of life. Could it be any other way? It’s life. Not a machine. Life is soul-infused. Breathing, beating, pulsing. That which breathes us, breathes all life.
We segment life. The root is one and all returns there. It’s spiritual. The foundation of life is spiritual. No matter if it looks secular, it’s still spiritual.
Remembering the Earth is important for a host of reasons that are environmental and ecological, but also spiritual:
Nothing is extraneous to the spiritual life. This is very important to understand. — Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
Our life here is closely knit with the Earth. Without the Earth we wouldn’t be able to have the lives we have. It’s as simple and alerting as that.
We inter-breathe with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans. They are part of our own body. — Thich Nhat Hanh
My PhotoBlog is usually where I celebrate Nature and the Earth with my own images and heart-opening quotes. There is one I’m going to use here as a point of contemplation. I’m sitting under some impressive oaks right now on an unseasonably but welcome cool day in South Florida. There’s a sweetness to the air.
Open to this and see what happens:
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
— Herman Hesse
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