“Earth, be glad to see me”
I found this Karuk* prayer in Judith Larner Lowry’s book Gardening with a Wild Heart: Restoring California’s Native Landscapes at Home. I often repeat this verse when I start out on a nature hike. This wonderful sentiment comes to mind today, Earth Day 2014.
It’s been 43 years since the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin had the idea after witnessing the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. He wanted to gather the energy of the American people to bring environmental issues and concerns to U.S. politicians. The first Earth Day had an immediate impact — many important environmental laws were passed — and the Environmental Protection Agency was established three years later.
Get Outside and Commune with Nature
I’m lucky to be able to walk to a regional park most mornings. I like to get outside and commune with nature via my own two feet and five senses. Feel the subtle contours of natural paths, see the beautiful designs present in flora and fauna, hear the whistles, chirps and chattering calls of birds, smell the surrounding freshness and taste the air on my skin. A nature adventure invites exploring, discovery, present moment awareness and appreciation. Earth stewardship begins with a love for nature which fosters respect and caring.
Once you experience nature in your heart, you are more conscious and caring about how your actions impact natural resources. Rachel Carson, marine biologist and conservationist, shared her love and reverence for nature with her nephew Roger and wrote about this relationship in The Sense of Wonder. In 1956 her later book Silent Spring delivered a powerful message to protect nature and living creatures from toxic products that are harmful to our shared environment. Carson went on to testify on the misuse of pesticides in the U.S. Senate and Congress.
Everyone has a relationship with the Earth, our home and source of life. Let’s live in a responsible way, that way Earth will be glad to see us all.
* The Karuk people are an indigenous people of Northern California and Southern Oregon and is one of the largest tribes in California.