Sequoia – Who can equal the steady strength of your massive trunk or spreading branches? Woodpeckers, nuthatches and flickers nest among your needles. Lorquin’s Admiral Butterfly flutters up and down your barky skin and among your reaching fingers. Flying squirrels and brown bats are nourished from your abundance and spread your legacy across the forest floor. Snails, salamanders and tree frogs live under your shade and between your earth-rooted toes.
Ocean – You carry the song of the Humpback whales from one of this blue planet to the other. Blue whales and plankton both call you their home. Playful dolphins and flying fish leap and soar above and below your Aegean depths. Ever faithful to the moon above, you keep time by the rising and falling of the tides. Healing waters, nourishing waters, life-giving water
Chomolungma – Mother of the Universe, your peak rises higher into the atmosphere than any other mountain. Hostile to life, yet inspiring humanity to great challenges, you bring glacial water to those who live below, those who must appear like ants to your great height.
Kalahari, Gobi and Sahara – Can life exist in your dry heat? One wouldn’t think so until they observe the holy trek of dromedaries and Bedouins; recall the travels of merchants along the Silk Road. Scarab beetles, ostrich and scorpions take delight in your hot and shifting grains of sand.
Rainforests of the world – Why do we continue to kill the one who gives us life through the air we breathe? You marry the elements of land and sky to create life-giving water and air. Sheltering precious species, some near to disappearing. Medicine hides in the bark, flowers and leaves of your mighty trees and glorious blooming plants.
Birds, butterflies, bees and bats – We bow to you, the great pollinators of the world. We owe you a debt of gratitude for your hard work, but more than that, we own responsibility to preserve your life so that you may preserve ours in the great circle of life. For you, we will plant more flowers and fruit, stop using killer pesticides and protect the sacred temples where you live.
Savanna – My brothers, the bison, depend on your American grasses, while your African cousins, the Cape Buffalo, rely on the health of your ecosystem. Leopards and lions, do too, for that matter. You give us a backdrop for the Great Migration. You were never meant to bear the burden of human needs, but to be the guardian of the circle of life.
The Grand Canyon – You are called grand for a reason. The breadth and color of your canyon walls inspire explorers, poets and photographers. But you are not just another pretty face. Precious water flows the length of you. The history of our ancestors is painted on your ledges. Prehistoric evidence of life no longer roaming the earth is wedged in your geologic layers. You reveal our past and prophesy our future.
Kilauea – Pele pours out her fire and wrath, but it is not in anger. She is a birthing mother. Fire flows from her womb of creation and land grows. Her baby has a long life and learns to walk and then run amok slowly as lava and water cry out in plumes of steam which harden into black igneous toddlers. Generations in the future will appreciate the beauty of Pele’s children when they have grown old with coconut palms, hibiscus flowers and waterfalls that cascade down her lush green mountains in silver ribbons.
This wild, diverse, beautiful, abundant, mysterious, magnificent, nourishing, awe-inspiring earth is not ours to own and rape as we please. It is a gift we are privileged to be stewards of; to protect and cherish. It is our responsibility to do whatever we can to help restore and protect the ecosystems we depend on for our existence. On this Earth Day, let us take some time to reflect on the treasure. Ask yourself this question. What is the one thing I can do to protect, heal or honor the earth?
Photo courtesy of earthday.org