Having lived for much of the last fifteen years in arid areas of this continent, and having unexpectedly returned to the East Coast about six months ago, I am still astounded at the bounty of life around me. What a difference rain makes!
I am also increasingly and profoundly grateful for the generosity of Mother Earth. In most parts of the planet, if there is a patch of ground left untampered with, Mama Earth will grow something there. If a lawn or meadow is left unmowed, saplings will begin to grow alongside the flowers. And in a decade or so, there will be a new woodland. It’s rather miraculous how dedicated Mother Earth is to the continuation of life. Wildflowers will even grow through the cracks in sidewalks and roads. Life is so abundant!
Unfortunately, this joy I feel when I look at all the bounty and beauty is tempered with sadness. Why? I see mankind repaying Earth’s kindness and generosity with so much …brutality, unintentional though it may be.
Let’s start with the suburban lawn. If left to her own devices, Mother Earth will fill our lawns and meadows with a cornucopia of edible and medicinal plants. Those of us with natural lawns have the ingredients for salads, stirfries, and wine right outside our door. We also have plants for first aid kits and medicine cabinets.
What do the other people have? They have grass. And grass, while technically edible, doesn’t taste very good. In addition, human beings don’t have the proper stomachs to digest it nor the proper teeth to munch it. So what is the merit of a lawn made of pure grass? Green. That is pretty much its only merit. It won’t feed us, nourish us, or heal us. Lawns made exclusively of grass may look life-like, but they are a dead zone. There will be no butterflies, robins, or fireflies around a sprayed lawn. Grass may attract deer and rabbits, but it’s unfortunate for those animals who dare to eat it because it’s covered with poison which is toxic to all living things. Except grass, of course.
If something were to happen and America suddenly had no oil or gas or electricity, and therefore no way for products to get to our supermarkets, nor any way for Amazon to deliver, we’d be in big trouble. Suddenly farms and gardens, yards and forests, creeks and rivers would become essential. But most of us would not be able to find edible greens and flowers in our yards because we’ve poisoned them. Nor would we be able to gather from a meadow or forest because we’ve built over most of them. Nor would we be able to fish from our rivers and streams because the poisons from our yards, golf courses, and roadsides have flowed into our creeks killing the fish, the frogs, and the turtles. And without electricity we wouldn’t be able to draw water from our wells nor turn on our spigots, but the water from our creeks and rivers is too polluted to drink.
We have been an incredibly foolish species, poisoning the very Earth from which we draw sustenance. Mother Nature grows us everything we need and instead of rejoicing and giving thanks, we kill it. She gives us bountiful water, and we poison it.
Should we run out of oil and gas, there will be pockets of people who will survive. There are visionary people dedicated to organic farming. There are people committed to preserving the forests and meadows. There are people who know the importance of retaining the old knowledge: of herbalism and healing, of creating natural shelters that keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer, of building fires without matches, of hunting and fishing. These people will survive. These people know how to live in harmony with the Earth.
She’s a good planet.
We just need to take care of Her!