Does the Earth Love You?

If you’ve been around Micro of the Macro for a while, no doubt you’ve read a lot about the benefits of spending time with Nature. For example, being at the beach can reduce stress & cancer risk.  Interacting with animals can result in improved heart & immune function. Visiting a waterfall can reduce chronic pain.  I have written about how working with plants can reduce depression, trauma, and anxiety, and how wildflowers support all living systems. Nature, in Her infinite wisdom, contributes unceasingly to life, including ours.  But let’s drill down further: does the Earth, our Primal Mother, love us?

Butterfly Garden, Tucson, AZ

In last week’s post, I mentioned briefly the book I am currently reading, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, member of the Potawatomi Nation and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at The State University of New York. Early in the book, she writes of the differences in two foundations which have strongly influenced the ways we think of Nature: the Creation Story and the language we use.  

Aspens, ferns and wildflowers near Arizona’s Snowbowl Ski Resort

In Kimmerer’s Native American culture, and many others, the Creation Story does not involve Adam & Eve’s unhappy expulsion from a perfect garden due to a deceitful serpent.  Instead, it is a story of Skywoman, who falls from the Skyworld, grasping for the Tree of Life on her way down, bringing with her seeds, flowers, and branches, and leaving an opening for the sun to shine through.  During and after her landing, animals lovingly assist her. We are inevitably shaped by (Creation stories) no matter how distant they may be from our consciousness, the author writes.  One (of the stories mentioned) leads to the generous embrace of the living world, the other to banishment.  One woman is our ancestral gardener, a cocreator of the good green world . . . The other, an exile, just passing through an alien world on a rough road to her real home in heaven.  A huge difference between perspectives for the followers of each tradition, wouldn’t you agree?

Rushing waters in Montana

Kimmerer’s native language, alive with the energies of the natural world, is almost completely gone.  (Due in large part to forced government board schooling of Native American children centuries ago, where speaking their native tongue was forbidden.)  The language of her ancestors addressed the Spirit in Nature; it was a mirror for seeing the animacy of the world, the life that pulses through all things, through pines and nuthatches and mushrooms, she writes.  The language reminds us, in every sentence, of our kinship with all of the animate world.  A far cry from English, which categorizes the living world as either people or things.  And how easy is it to neglect or abuse when we objectify?  (Think of the unfortunate slaves of ages past who were considered property.) How could we possibly come to believe that things love us?

Cactus blooms in the Sonoran Desert

The author, a scientist and teacher, is a mother of two, as well.  She writes with the greatest affection of her daughters, and says she taught them to garden so they would always have a mother to love them, even after she’s gone.  She composed a list of loving behaviors shared with her girls.  Included in the list are: nurturing health and well-being, protection from harm, encouraging growth, interdependence, and creation of beauty.  When we observe these behaviors between people, she says, we know they must love each other.  We even make the statement, “She loves her garden” when the same behaviors are demonstrated by someone carefully tending a plot of land.  Why then, the author asks, would you not make the leap to say that the garden loves her back?  The thriving of one is in the best interest of the other.  This, to me, sounds a bit like love, the author concludes. I couldn’t agree more.

A desert dove

Braiding Sweetgrass is packed with practical teachings of the old ways, offering a clear way forward out of the environmental disaster we are living presently.  But there is so much more to this book.  The beauty of Kimmerer’s prose could make a willing student out of anyone.  I find myself rereading some of her lines 3 or 4 times to relish gentle teachings that feed my soul.  Her descriptive, love-infused narrative brings the science of botany to life, revealing the exquisite luminosity of Mother Earth.

Jemez Springs, near Santa Fe, New Mexico

An endless supply of loving support is made available to us by Nature, being the good Mother that She is. In addition to making things beautiful, She also provides us with ways to help us feel better and improve our lives overall. Like Robin Wall Kimmerer, I strongly believe that the Earth cares for us beyond measure, and spending time in Nature is the easiest way to feel the embrace of that unconditional love.

Mazatzal Mountains, Arizona, strewn with Saguaro Cactus

Blessings for Motherly Love,

Lisa

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

67 thoughts on “Does the Earth Love You?

  1. Lisa, I just stop! Pause! Take a Deep Breath,……then allow your beautiful words and photo’s set into my heart…..healing any pain caused by disharmony. You demonstrate the Absolute by sharing the Wisdom of Nature!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hi, Mark, agreed, the book is a sensation! I still have a bit to read, but so far, the Witch Hazel section has had the strongest emotional effect on me, as her impoverished neighbor’s manner of speaking reminds me so much of my (deceased) grandmother’s. Thanks for adding to the conversation! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Although, I do enjoy the many, many splendors of our lands, it saddens me to see what mankind alone has done to Mother Earth especially over the last 200 years or so. The destruction that has taken place by human beings is not only sad and painful to see but unforgivable……because of the desire for greed! One of the most heartbreaking television commercials I will always remember featured a Native American Indian with a large tear in one of his eyes after seeing the pollution, waste, chemicals, debris, etc….. dumped into lakes, rivers, oceans, streams, etc…..by MANKIND! Unfortunately Mother Earth, who HAS brought beautiful joy to us throughout our lives has also suffered with much pain, sadness, disappointment, etc…….

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hi, mamaceil, so nice to see you. Your words are sadly true; greed has brought about consequences that have not only hurt the Earth, but also sped humans along on the track to extinction. Hopefully, when we reincarnate again, greed will not be something we know or can ever learn. Happy weekend! 🌞

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  3. Lisa, you write about a book that made and is still making, a huge impact on me! When I bought the paperback in February it was the title and cover that attracted me! However, like you, I’ve read and re-read pages because it’s so captivating. I’ve underlined many lines throughout the book and something you’ve just reminded me about is in the chapter “Learning the Grammar of Animacy”. She says: “After the drumbeat of my mother’s heart, this was my first language”. These words jumped off the page; I cannot explain fully here the reasons for this but it is connected to losing my dear mother in March, five years ago. It’s difficult to explain, and I’m not sure I really understand.
    My review of the book on Goodreads didn’t do it justice however I needed to find out more about this wonderful author. I have since bought her first book “Gathering Moss” which is still on my desk to read (I’m currently reading Suzanne Simard’s “Finding the Mother Tree” and that too is an amazing read.
    Robin Wall Kimmerer also appears on YouTube if you want to hear her voice too.
    Bless you Lisa, I’m turning the pages of “Braiding Sweetgrass” once again! 💐💖🙋‍♂️
    Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi, Ashley! I believe you are the one who recommended the book to me! So thank you! And thanks for the YouTube info & the new book title, which I’ve already added to my list of must-reads! The line you’ve quoted is indeed powerful; I remember having a strong reaction to it as well, as it was true for me, too. Kimmerer really knows how to communicate directly to the heart. I shared with Mark S in a prior comment that Witch Hazel reminded me of my grandmother, who died many years ago. I was in tears by the end of the section! You have a lovely weekend as well, my friend! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The book sounds so interesting, Lisa. However, I have to disagree about the way Christians look at the earth. Yes, we believe heaven in our (eventual) home but we also believe God created the earth and people to work together and be a blessing to each other, even though it obviously doesn’t always work. I know I as a Christian cherish the earth He created and do my best to care for it and enjoy it.

    Those residential or government schools were horrendous and were as big a scourge in many way as slavery. There was a lot of abuse and children were taken without their families’ permission. I recently read “Call Me Indian” about the first or one of the first indigenous hockey player in the NHL in Canada. It was really interesting but also horrific. Indians in the US were also treated terribly even until recently. Of course there’s so much more to the stories than these simple ideas but that doesn’t make them any less true.

    janet

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your opinion, Janet. You’re right: Native Americans were labeled as “things” (savages – how ironic) early on, contributing to their horrible abuse, as well. Living so close to Navajo Nation, I still witness a lot of sadness brought about by the White Man starting centuries ago, but continuing into the present day. Truly heartbreaking.

      Thanks for stopping by & enjoy the weekend! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nature must love us … why on on earth (pun intended) would we feel so much better after spending time in nature – whether at the beach or in the mountains 💌.
    And I have a good feeling also after looking at your beautiful pictures of nature!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. The intelligence of the old times has so often proved superior, we have complicated our lives in pursuit of comfort and simplicity. As children we used to run and romp the tilled soil of our gardens, step in squishy mud and enjoy the smell of fresh dug up soil, get wet in the rain and enjoy the after rain fragrance. What was all that if not love from mother Earth. Many grandmothers of yesteryears used to say “allow the children to play with mud, it’s good for them”.
    Much of it is gone now. Try as I might, I cannot make my daughter see as much Nature as I saw, simply because our concrete cities haven’t left much Nature to savor.
    Sounds like a beautiful book Lisa, as it’s your recommendation I wish try to find it.
    And the many links you gave at the start of the post are very helpful, thank you 🙂🙏

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, Deb, I appreciate the kindness & beauty of your supportive comment, and I’m happy you enjoyed the post! Agreed: it is ashamed that urbanization has spread so far and wide. So much of Earth’s magnificence has been sacrificed. If you find the book, you will love it. Much of it is poetry in the form of prose. Have a great week, my friend! 🌞

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  7. A gorgeous post, dear Lisa. It reminds me of the inadequacy of the English language to describe many spiritual traditions across the globe, current and past. I love to read, study, and practice various spiritual traditions from India; and, english breaks down when trying to adequately convey the nature of reality for example. Love for our Mother, indeed. ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, Jeff, thank you for your lovely comment. I understand your appreciation for studying spiritual traditions. During my second year of college, a Comparative Religions course broadened my perspective & changed my understanding of the world. Afterwards, I couldn’t get enough Philosophy! Thank you for supporting my blog, & have an inspired week! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhhh, yes, how fun, totally understand; had some similar experiences at University. How fun. Ah, you’re always welcome, Lis; it is my complete pleasure to read your lovely work. Thank you. Have a lovely week, dear Lisa! 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Another great example of nature, love and and all of the forces of the animal kingdom, plants and you pictures spreading seeds of hope to our world. Hope you are out of risk my dear friend Lisa❣️❣️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Cindy, I am grateful for your beautiful comment. I am indeed out of danger now. The 2 fires closest to us are almost completely contained. Although the air quality is not back to normal, it is a heck of a lot better than before. At least we can walk outside now without a mask! Thank you for your concern – it means so much! What about you? Have your fires subsided? Wishing you a week filled with laughter & warm feelings! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh you’re soooo welcome… I’m so relieved and happy to know that you’re out of danger. The smoke will last awhile. My daughter and b.f. were in Shasta and left cuz the smoke was so bad from the fires.. so they’re back with us right now. Glad you can walk again without a mask. I’m shocked we haven’t had more fires which I suspect will happen sadly… Thanks for your love special laugh which is always a lovely lift💖💖👏You do the same💖💖

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful article. Reading it was like going on a mini vacation through nature. I also enjoy gardening and taking care of living things. You did a wonderful job with the photos. I also enjoy and love nature. Keep on giving awesome information. You just do not know what a blessing you are. Stay blessed.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. After reading your message and seeing your lovely photos, I felt moved to share this poem with you.

    The Peace in Wild Things
    By Wendell Berry

    When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Just being out in my garden barefoot, watching and listening to the birds, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and the plants has brought much healing into my life. I’ve committed to doing the best I can to give back to mother Earth. It’s so heartbreaking to witness how we’ve been destructing life all for greed. The good news is to see a lot of posts like this where people are aware and doing what they can to turn it around. Hope we can do it before it’s too late.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Thank you for sharing this. I really love the excerpts of the book you’ve shared, and definitely value the ideas within about nurturing nature and and receiving its nurture in return. The list of loving behaviours resonates strongly with me too. As my girlfriend and I continue getting to know one another, I can see these, and other caring behaviours more easily, and value them.

    Thank you again for sharing. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful blog. Although her story takes place in this Country, it reminds me somewhat of the Tibetan culture which I have been very passionate about for many, many years. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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