Quote of the day: Pushcart Prize winner Bob Hicok offers us a darkly funny answer to this question, taking most of us to task in his poem Hold your breath: a song of climate change: “The water is rising, but we’re not drowning yet. When we’re drowning, we’ll do something. When we’re on our roofs.”
Commentary: My friends, it is time for us to do something special: to begin to walk, swim or catapult ourselves toward discerning the deep meaning of Earth Day 50. When I worked at Earth Day 1 HQ in D.C. as a sleepy 17-year-old intern, we had hoped that day would be an unprecedented wake-up call go collective action, to get us off our duffs to heal the wounds inflicted upon Mother Earth. And yet, for all the good deeds done & all the laws for environmental protection passed since that day, we must concede that the wounds have multiplied and deepened.
We have let them do so at our own peril. We can no longer put superficial bandages on them and hope they will heal. Instead, we need to have a deeper kind of healing, one rooted in contemplative ecology. Over the next 50 days, we will reflect upon more lasting means to heal these wounds. So please feel free to join me on this “virtual” spiritual pilgrimage, one that echoes those taken by Saint Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Ecology.
Suggested Action #1: Set aside time each of the next 50 days for a walking meditation lasting anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes. Silence your mind and tongue. Listen to the abundant lives harbored in the habitats where we live and breathe. Listen to the other-than-human portion of Creation itself. But also listen to the warning signs that signal what is in peril, what’s at stake. Listen deep enough to hear the heartbeat of the Earth, and let that guide us on our journey.
Gary Paul Nabhan aka Brother Coyote is a professed member of the Ecumenical Order of Franciscans, a graduate of the Living School, a conservation biologist, orchard-keeper and story-teller.