It’s Earth Day! Go Outside!

earth day “But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”  ~ Rachel Carson

“If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.” ~ Rachel Carson

The Sea2
Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”  ~ Walt Whitman

sleep with the earth
Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper, That we may record our emptiness.” ~  Kahlil Gibran

tree
~~~~~~~~~
For as long as I can remember, I have been in absolute awe of the things I’ve found in Nature. “Outside!”, according to my mother, was one of my first words. “I want to go outside, Mom!” At the beach I would stand at the shore’s edge and breathe that salted air into my lungs and just gape at the vastness of the ocean. “I want to go outside, Mom!” I climbed trees, I smelled flowers, I collected fallen leaves and twigs and acorns. “Outside!” I caught and released a million frogs, snakes, turtles, caterpillars and fireflies. I sat Outside to watch thunderstorms. I rolled my body in the first snows of winters.

frog
As I grew up the science behind all of these wonders fascinated me too. And as a young adult, I never lost that wonder. I looked to others then for some reflection of the amazement I felt at all these miracles. And most of the time, I found others were unimpressed. This shocked me deeply. I would say … “LOOK at that TREE!!” And they wouldn’t look, or they would, but just glance and then they’d look at ME… as though I had three heads. They would look at those things of beautiful nature and not SEE them! This baffled me. But it didn’t change me. And I am so thankful for that. To me, the divine manifests nowhere more evidently than in Nature. I have always seen it all (US ALL) as a single, living, breathing organism… Gaia. She is We and We are She.

presence_of_gaia

So for me, the fact that we now have (need) Earth Day is kind of weird. It makes me a little sad, in fact. It harkens back to the days when the blindness and indifference of others toward this WONDERFUL planet made me feel like a freak. Now, it just infuriates me. Earth Day started because a woman named Rachel Carson, like me, loved this planet and understood that we are part of it. And she could see the disconnection that industry built. We were hurting our mother and ourselves. She also understood that wonderment is the key to rebuilding the connections between people and the planet. We’ve raced so fast and so far in our giant, gas-guzzling rocket ship to “Progress”, that we’ve forgotten exactly who and what we are.

city
Until last year I lived in (mostly) rural spaces where it was normal to step outside and find some stunning miracle of nature just outside my door. Now that I’m a city-dweller, I understand how it happens. Urban life insidiously takes over. And while I still make a point to admire something green and growing, or to watch the humming birds and grackles every day, I still find that my daily routine involves far more concrete and steel than trees and critters. It’s easy to begin to think that this is normal.

It’s not. When I feel this I tell myself “Go Outside!” “Go Outside and look.” And when I do, I find Nature, yes…. But what I really find again, is myself. And this is the heart of the heart of it all. When we experience wonder in nature, what we are doing is recognizing our own souls in it. This is how we can save ourselves, by knowing that we are not separate. And that moment of amazed awe is the moment we know, no, the moment we experience that we ARE SHE and She is We.

nightskySo, remember to go outside.
Here’s the thing… it’s not the planet itself that’s in trouble from all the greedy, blind resource exploiters in the world, it’s US. Gaia will not die from our horrible treatment of her. She will simply scratch us off like so many fleas. She will do what every living organism does with a parasite. She will make her body an inhospitable place for that parasite.
When I chose Wicca as my spiritual path, all of this was, of course, at the heart of it. And I have, gratefully, found many others, who share my awe and wonderment at this beautiful universe. And I’ve come to also understand that wonder and excitement and recognition of beauty can sometimes, SOMETIMES, be contagious. So I don’t hide my amazement at everything. I DO Say things like “LOOK at that TREE or Flower or Bird or Sky!” I say them out loud to whoever might be standing near, strangers or not, because someone could catch this wonderful germ.

chihuly flower

And that would be something. So Go Outside! If you’ve got it, this germ… spread it around!
And so here I rant about Earth Day (which should be EVERY day) in my blog…my “witchy” blog.  My audience is pretty much made up of Tree Hugging Dirt Worshippers. So, I’m preaching to the choir here. All I want to do is spread the germ of wonder.
So I’m asking you all, dear readers, to go outside. But before you do, because all twelve of you (am I being too optimistic there?) already love the outside, please SHARE this blog. Tell some of the OTHER people to GO OUTSIDE! Tell the ones who don’t know that’s where to look for real happiness, real satisfaction and inner peace.

Tell your friends who would rather go shoe shopping to GO OUTSIDE!

Tell your friends in the bar to GO OUTSIDE!

Tell your family members who just want to stay on the couch and watch TV to GO OUTSIDE!

Share this…. And then GO OUTSIDE!

“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” ~  William Butler Yeats

faery river

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