I got to spend some time with Mother Nature yesterday. She seemed tired, worried, careworn. We’ve had a long relationship. She knows that I love her, but somehow I did not know what to say to her when I saw her looking so ragged. It’s been a tough year for her. In fact she’s been abused by us for quite some time now. She doesn’t like to complain, but I can tell that she has reached a breaking point. She is, after all, so generous to the whole world and yet we too often ignore her. Surely we’ve all seen the signs that she is having a very difficult time. So why are we so reluctant to take the steps to care for her, to help her heal?
I actually cried as she told me how dehydrated she often is. There are fires in her belly that she knows are slowly destroying her. Sometimes she is overwhelmed by terrible storms that wash over her, drowning her so that she can hardly breathe. She suffers from the heat of burning fevers and then has chills from a coldness than runs through her body. She’s tried to ignore these symptoms and just carry on as she always has, but lately she has been unable to deny that something is terribly wrong. She is worried. She needs help.
She did not say how she got this way. She is kind like that. Nonetheless I knew that we have collectively done this to her. We have taken her for granted. Ignored the signs that she was ill. Used her. Stolen from her. Chipped away at her.
I took her hands in mine and cried as I apologized for my own part in her destruction. She hugged me with her warmth and for a moment there was so much strength and beauty in her face. She was not able to keep up the pretense for very long. Her shoulders sagged. Her breathing was labored from inhaling the pollution of our neglect. I asked her what she needed, what we all might do to make her well again.
She told me that her recovery will be difficult for all of us because we have waited so long to deal with her injuries, but it is not impossible to help her heal. We simply need the will to make some changes in how we treat her. We will have to undergo a kind of group therapy together so that we might learn to live in harmony with her. She worries that if she breaks we may all suffer with her, so she wants more than anything that we will understand how much she needs us and we need her.
I hugged her and made a promise that I would do my best to help her. I thanked her for all of the joy that she has brought me from day to day. I spoke of sacrifices that I am willing to make and insisted that I would rally others to stand by her side as well. I became animated with ideas for what we might all do to guarantee that her health improves. I was sincere, eager to please her, to let her know how much I love her.
She smiled weakly at my enthusiasm. It pleased her to know that I truly want to help, but she warned me in her motherly way that the road ahead will not be easy. she insisted that there will be tough times when I simply want to give up the fight for her. She wanted me to understand that much like killing a cancer inside a human body, the journey ahead will seem to get worse before it gets better. Still, if we do nothing, she will surely begin to die.
Hers was a stark truth that I did not want to hear. Mothers are like that sometime. Their honesty ruffles us, makes us want to put our hands over our ears so that we might pretend that everything is better than it really is. She gently put her hands on my face and turned my gaze so that I was looking into her loving eyes. She quietly explained that she would never become well all by herself. She described the way parts of her might become so diseased that they would cease to exist unless we provide her with the medicine and therapy that she needs. She urged me to understand that her time was running out. She pleaded with me to walk with her on the difficult journey ahead, knowing that it might be one of the most difficult things that I have ever done.
I earnestly promised her that I was ready to do what I must do for her. I reminded her of the ways that I have cared for my mother, my children, my husband, myself. I assured her that I knew how to endure and overcome tough times. I have the will to set things right. I also understand that I will not be able to save her alone, so I must find others to join me in the effort.
We changed the subject for a time. Mother Nature did not want to leave me feeling sad or defeated. She is protective of me and all of my fellow humans. Her birds came to greet the two of us. The sunshine of her smile radiated around me. She pointed to the flowers that bloom all around us, the creatures great and small that live with us, the magnificent forests and mountains and rivers and oceans. I thanked her for those gifts and parted with a profound promise that I will do my best to make her well because I love her and I know she loves me.