The earth or nature and all its systems and life forms is sometimes called Gaia, a term encouraging us to view it as a living complex entity functioning as a whole like a self-regulating organism, rather than seeing it as a static resource for us to use. But we are not separate from Gaia although many live as if we were. We too are one of the life forms dependent on and affected by the others.
It is amazing what difference awareness makes, noticing the warmth and scent of the air that we breathe and the play of clouds through the sky. Finding out where our food comes from and imagining it growing there, giving thanks for its taste and beauty and nourishment. Realising how we are affected by the seasons, by the length of the days and the dance of sun and moon. Knowing that we are a product of the place that we live and its unique balance of soil, plant and creature.
Realising our interdependence with all aspects of our planet means we live and model a healthy relationship with it. We affect each other, and growing a heart of respect, awareness and love is as valuable as our practical responses to the crises affecting Gaia. It is an invitation to plant ourselves here, to be home.
I like talking to the plants and animals that I see, especially the trees, and I listen too so I can sense their atmosphere. The oak tree I pass on my dog walk has become quite a friend. And I love the silver birch trees in my garden.
Little green leaves, welcome. Welcome to my garden, to the spring, to this world. You are so small and new, almost transparent, shining with the afterglow of birth. Some of you are the size of a baby’s fingernail, some of you are the size of mine.
What is it like, being poured into the air, breathing it in and out to fire your green cells? What is it like, loving the sun so much that you hold your face to catch it? What is it like dancing in the breeze, free to float yet held by your branch, by your body? Do you feel the communion with other leaves, with the trunk, with the roots? Does the sap you drink bring you their stories?
You are so perfect for what you do, getting on with it quietly, living the life of a little green leaf in its fullness. I will trust that I too am perfect for what I have to do.