If the nature was gone, would we miss it?

May 27, 2009

It is wonderful to be outside. I begin to believe that living in houses really wasn’t such a good idea. It is so spacious, so open, so unguarded to just be out in the world where trees are, where birds are, where the sky is.  Working in my yard today was such a pleasure. I was pulling generations of old, dried ferns out of the ground. It was not an easy task, they resisted, clung to the earth with all their might and did all they could to become slippery and fragile, twisting, bending and crumbling, doing anything to defy me. I was pulling really hard, slipped and collapsed on the ground, laughing. The bed of ferns I fell on top of was cool, soft and fragrant, the smell of fresh, moist earth exhilarating, and the sky was so gorgeous, and I was happy. My yard needs a lot of work. When we moved to this house, about a year and a half ago, the yard was a disaster. Hardly anything was still alive, what was alive was hopelessly overgrown and tangled. We put some work into cutting and pulling the brambles, cleaning out the space for new plants … and … we got busy. From time to time we would realize that the yard needs landscaping but neither of us had any experience with plants, there was so much work, we had no time, there were other priorities, we were too tired. The yard continued to look bare, dusty and dismal and we knew that something should be done, that it should get fixed. Occasionally we would plan to call someone, get someone to come and do something, but we never quite got to it. Which is why my recent and sudden love of gardening was surprising, not to say strange. I spent hours outside those last two weeks digging, planting, watering, pruning. I enjoyed myself so thoroughly that it took me over a week to register that this is not like me. Not only working in the yard is not quite normal, but even more strange is me doing it for pleasure, because I like it, because I am happy doing it. This is what happened, I realized, this is what’s different. Before the yard was a duty, it was something that had to be done. It was a space that didn’t work for me esthetically, and needed to get fixed. But today, as I was pruning roses and cutting faded geranium blooms, there was such a peaceful, spacious, restful space. The kind of space that really close friends enjoy, friends who can sit together in silence for hours simply being in each other’s presence, feeling the connection. I felt that my house was surrounded by friends. I didn’t need to talk to them, just being with them was enough. Letting go of my mind, relaxing my body, and simply enjoying being alive. And it made me wonder – why do we want to save Earth? Why do we want to save nature? Is it because we believe we should? Because it’s our duty? Because it’s the “right thing to do”? Is it because we are really, really scared and want to save our collective butts? Is it because we need nature to survive?  And if we didn’t need nature to survive, if it could collapse without taking us with it – would we miss it? Would there be a hole in our lives, a hole that’s left when a loved one is gone? Do we actually like nature? Do we enjoy it’s company? Or do we simply use it for whatever it is we need? Our mind would have us act out of fear. It would have us be terrified of an imminent danger, always ready to defend ourselves, to fight for survival. Our mind would have us act because we should, because we need to, because we have to, because it’s right, it’s a duty, it’s an obligation, because it is our job. But when we let go of the mind, when we come back to who we are, who we really are, I believe we act because we like it, because it feels really good, because we really enjoy it, because it’s fun. Which may be why after nearly every session with Brooks during which I open really deeply to who I am, when I ask him: “what do I do now?” he doesn’t say “go save nature and save the world”. He says: “go have fun”.

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