This morning, to celebrate Earth Day, I took the 5 minute pilgrimage to my new backyard, Muir Woods. I tell you- if you ever want to reconnect with Mama Earth and marvel at her wonders, just head to a redwood grove, sit on the loamy ground, stare up at the needly overhang of shade, and count your blessings. The grandeur of the trees somehow shrinks the trivial worries I carry with me, and I am humbled in awe.
Plus, these trees are so wise! If you want to learn some life lessons, immerse yourself in nature and pay attention. Metaphors abound. Like this wounded little redwood I found. I mean, here’s this grand seedling destined to become a redwood tree, but NO. Some Joe Schmoe cuts her head off because she’s in the way of the well-trodden Ocean View trail I enjoy all the time. If this baby treeling behaved the way most of us do, she’d be crying her eyes out because she didn’t get to grow into a towering redwood. But I think she’s figured that out that her wound is actually a gift. By the time I found this little tree, I was weary, and she provided just the perfect resting spot, so that I got to sit there for a moment and appreciate her. If this little tree has a soul, I’ll bet she gave up mourning the loss of her piney top long ago, because now her life is filled with purpose. Unlike all the other redwoods at Muir Woods, she has the singular distinction of being the place where tired travelers can stop, reflect, and appreciate what she has become.
And then there’s the big burned-out redwood I found. The bottom of the tree was hollowed out and seared a charred black, like a being without a heart. And yet, inside this tree’s wound lies a place of shelter from the elements, a place where lucky humans can sleep or wait out a thunderstorm. Not only did she survive the fire- she thrives. She’s the fattest, biggest, most beautiful redwood in the forest. I’ve even heard that fire helps redwood seeds germinate. Which means that even some giant adversity, like fire, can begin the growth process.
Now you can probably see where I’m going here. We all have the seeds within us to become towering redwoods, but sometimes it takes hardship- like fire- or cancer, divorce, losing a loved one, infertility, financial crisis….I could go on. But it is in those times of turmoil that the seeds of our greatest selves germinate. As I left the redwood grove to come back home and write this tribute to Earth Day, I stopped to hug a few trees and thank JABA (Jesus/Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Athena) for giving us Mama Earth, with all her worldly wisdom.
What can you do to honor Earth Day? I’ve changed a few things in this past year. First, I gave up using plastic bottles (I was a bottled spring water addict). Then, I bought a composter, planted an organic garden, and started buying local and organically-grown produce. I still drive my gas guzzler art-mobile, but one green step at a time, baby. We can’t change the world overnight, be we can make a difference, one plastic bottle at a time.
Even my three year old daughter, Siena, knows we have to bless Mama Earth. She came home from her awesome preschool, Mill Valley Montessori, with an Earth Day flag. Her Pink Goddess teacher Susan asked her what she wanted her Earth Day flag to say, and Siena said, “Have Chickens.” So her flag sports a crayon-colored peace symbol and the wise words, “Have Chickens.” What exactly does that mean? My husband and I are still pondering it. But maybe it’s like those towering redwoods. Maybe the lessons aren’t so obvious. You have to slow down and do some radical noticing to discover what you’re supposed to learn.
How do you celebrate and honor Mama Earth, Pinkies? Do tell...
Green peace and Pink love,
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