If the earth was asking something of us, we would know exactly what it is. We would hear it loud and clear from the tops of mountains, from the roots of trees, from the drops of rain.
The fact that we are even asking this question underlines our ever present human-ness. We see the damage that we have done as something we can repair, something that we can reverse with enough conservation centers, with enough wildlife preserves. But it’s not just our actions that are the problems. It’s our very way of thinking that needs to shift.
What does the earth ask of the deer stepping lightly through the trees in Northern Wisconsin?
What does the earth ask of the dolphins slicing through the pastel waters of the Pacific Ocean at sunrise?
What does the earth ask of the elephant ear plants shooting towards the sky next to a waterfall in the rainforests of Guatemala?
What does the earth ask of two hummingbirds searching for nectar between Upper Michigan birch trees?
What does the earth ask of the palm trees trying desperately to grow amongst LA skyscrapers?
What does the earth ask of the spring lambs born on a farm just north of New York City?
I see no questions in those relationships. I see no explanations. They are symbiotic, they support and they are supported. No questions are asked in a relationship like that. How can we even begin to answer this question, to answer the earth, when every other being interacting with each other that isn’t us has no need for questions?
How have we gotten ourselves into this place and expect to get out of it thriving?
How have we built walls between ourselves so tall that we don’t see the soil as a part of ourselves?
The question we need to answer is not “what does the earth ask of us?” but rather, “how do we hold ourselves accountable?”
How do we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, our actions that are slowly but surely burying us alive?
How do we hold ourselves accountable in a way that not only begs us to be better, but demands it?
We must hold ourselves accountable because we are the only ones who can. We must look at ourselves as just another resident of the earth because that is mostly what we are. We are small, we are temporary. The earth is something we refer to so lovingly as Mother Earth, Gaia, our home. What does it call us? Nothing much more than a current resident. We are so much smaller than we like to believe.
That fact is a two-sided coin.
Being smaller than we think we are, we can let go of some things. We can accept the things we have done and be better from here on out. We can let our smallness save us from ourselves.
However, it can also trap us. It can become an excuse, and we don’t want that. We want it to stay relevant, keep it comforting us and letting us grow but also keep us humble.
We must be humble in everything we have done and everything we will ever do.