Saturday, October 03, 2009

The love of the earth

Nature has always been a source of replenishment and restoration for me. When I feel 'off' I go outside, even if it is only to sit on a blanket on the grass for a few minutes, or rest on the patio. A good long hike always clears my head and cleans my energy. I love the earth. All you have to do is look around you when you are outdoors to see the love of God manifest in the miracles of His creation. God did not hide his love. He bestowed it everywhere, from the blue sky, to the green grass, to the myriad of flowers, or the sweetness of a drenching rain. How can you ever feel unloved when you are kissed by the sun, caressed by the breezes, and sung sweet songs by a symphony of birds at dawn and dusk. How indeed? We forget how loved we are. We forget to appreciate what is right in front of us. In our hurry to pay bills, get chores done, and pack our days in order to 'be happy someday' we forget to get outside, to sit and appreciate creation, and to BE happy now. So much wealth is right outside our doorsteps, yet we forget how loved we are.

Years ago, "Fred," the ficus tree I planted in the backyard, died in a rare winter frost. We went outside and did a little prayer ceremony around him, hoping to bring him back to life. Well he was gone for good, but miraculously, in his place, a a mulberry tree began to grow. The mulberry grew 35 feet tall in five years. Its canopy shades my yard in the summer and allows sunshine in during the winter. It is home to a veritable aviary of birds - finches, hummingbirds, mockingbirds, sparrows, a woodpecker now and then, grackles, cardinals - you name it. Every morning they sing to me, and at night they thank God for the day with another song. This tree has become the hub of wildlife in my little suburban yard and I love it. I didn't even put it in the ground myself. Nature did it for me.

A few years later I got interested in fairies - the little nature angels that watch over God's plants. I heard they liked sparkly stuff, so hoping my neighbors wouldn't see me, I went out and sprinkled glitter in the planter box where I was having trouble growing things in the rocky soil. "Anything else you guys want," I asked psychically. I heard a loud chorus of voices. "We want an angel statue! We want an angel statue!" So off to the local mega-mart I went to get an inexpensive yard angel to appease the chorus of fairies in my head. That year, beautiful pink primroses sprouted up spontaneousy in my planter boxes and to this day they give me a carpet of lovely flowers in April. Again, I didn't plant them - the seeds blew in on the breezes. Now everything grows in my planter boxes.

Nature always reminds me of resurrection and new life. It teaches me about the phases of life. Something new is always sprouting up in the yard. When one thing dies, something more beautiful grows in its place. When winter comes everything goes a bit dormant and reminds me to rest. When spring comes, flowers bloom in all their glory reminding me to celebrate new life and new activity. Fall is a time of harvest, and letting go of what is inauthentic in our lives. All I have to do, to feel connected with God, is to sit outside and contemplate all the miracles around me. Mother earth, and all her creatures are indeed teachers and ambassadors of God's love.

I even asked the pigeons, who seem to love my yard, a quick question the other day. "Hey guys, if all God's creatures serve a purpose, what is yours? Many people don't like you much and you have to admit, you are a bit messy." "Rainbow" who is both a fantastic daddy pigeon and quite the loving husband to his pigeon wife, answered. "Pigeons are not afraid to bring nature into the cities which have been paved over, polluted, and where all other remnants of God's creation have been virtually wiped out. We eat the cast-off crumbs that humans toss away. People think we are messy and in one sense we are, but our presence is meant to remind people that even in the midst of the messy pollution, concrete, and artificial environments, God's creation is ever present." I was impressed - I really didn't expect much of an answer. Watching these birds - the ones that most people loathe - teaches me. They are very loving to their partners. They take turns sitting on their nests. They have close knit families and are trusting until they learn otherwise. I could write a whole book on what I've learned from them.

So mother earth does nurture and teach and comfort us in all ways great and small. You can take this at face value and simply relax in her beauty, or you can really tune into her energy and receive a blanketing wave of comforting energy enveloping you that is akin to a mother's love. Either way, she can replenish your spirit, and goodness knows, we are all in need of that now and then.