In a World so Filled
Earth Day every day. It is what I hope to instill in my children probably more than any other particular thing, besides love in general. I change the songs I learned in church as a child into songs about Mother Earth. We play outside every day, we lean close and pay attention: bugs, birds, the deer traipsing through, the baby one with his tiny antler buds, the work of raccoons who came in the night, footprints, scattered compost. Decomposition, the forms of clouds, what is sprouting out of the ground, what the ants are carrying, the way the doves flap off together in a group with a presence both magical and mundane. It almost feels disingenuous to write it down, because it's not like it's something I pat myself on the back about, it's not like it's hard to spend time this way: it's what I love, what we all love, and it makes parenting a breeze while we can devote ourselves outdoors.
I am proud when Lucy asks me the names of flowers, birds, trees. Oftentimes I don't know, I'll say let's check with Joey, he knows his evergreens or she'll say, "We can ask Nana, Nana knows trees." Both girls love to dig and plant. To examine roly-poly bugs and visit with ladybugs. Today Polly had a terrible run-in with a red ant hill. By the time I got to her in a matter of moments, they were already crawling all over her and had stung her behind her neck, on her back and arms. She stopped crying as soon as I picked her up though, and as soon as we got her dress off she was pointing out more ants and blowing them kisses with her big wide "Muh!" She doesn't hold it against them. Nature is chaotic and wild, can be unpredictable. Maybe she gets that.
We've been waiting for the poppies with relish. I got worried when I noticed a month or so ago that there seemed to be less of their big furry leaves in the patch near the rock wall, that there were far fewer of their fuzzy little heads peeking up than in years past. It's been dry of course (drought, drought, drought...) so I carefully weeded around them and even gave them a sprinkling of gray water once. And here they are! Yesterday there were two, today there were five. It's gonna be quite a week!
waiting for rain.
We went to a little Earth Day celebration at the library. Met a pygmy owl named Dusty who was rescued and rehabilitated by Sierra Wildlife Rescue but still cannot fly. Lucy got a little bee and a butterfly painted on her hands. Then we came back to our backyard to put in time with the real thing. Hear the quails call greetings to their clans and see the doves flutter at dusk. The bees swarming the plum trees and the lavender. I may not be very good at gardening or wildcrafting (yet!) but I am good at paying attention and feeling grateful.
It brings me back to the Romantics, to my old starstruck idols, Wordsworth and Coleridge, their lyrical ballads, their rhapsody in nature, the divinity they find in the earth around us. Coleridge's rhapsody to the wind blowing over an Eolian harp, dreaming of the way the wind touches all of nature and finds a common song.
"O the one life within us and abroad.
Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance everywhere --
Methinks it would have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so filled"