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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mother Earth

“There is no word for ‘nature’ in my language," said Audrey Shenandoah, a member of the Onondaga clan, to Harvey Arder and Steve Wall who wrote the book Wisdomkeepers (1990). "Nature, in English, seems to refer to that which is separate from human beings. It is a distinction we don't recognize." I try not to recognize this distinction either; however, in the English language there are many words for nature such as the environment, the earth, the wilderness, the natural world, the ecosystem, and Gaia just to name a few. Many native and indigenous cultures used words that are roughly translated into English as Mother Earth.

The Mother Earth has been worshiped all over the world in almost every religion throughout history. She is marveled at by science. All life is dependent upon her. It is common knowledge that life feeds life and the Earth supports all forms of life. The complex cycles of air, water, soil, and food are taught in elementary school; however, we pollute the air, poison the water, abuse the soil, and modify the food. The fact that everything we do to anything on the planet will cycle back to us is often overlooked. People have grown to see themselves as separate from the rest of the complex world. This separateness has given people a superiority complex that allows them to destroy the Earth without believing it impacts their own body. Yet, science has proven this assumption false. It can not be denied that there is interconnectedness among all individual things.

Nevertheless, our very lifestyle sucks out her resources, poisons her veins, and pollutes her lungs. Often this abusive nature is recognized, but seldom is it comprehended as self-abuse. We are merely a small part of the great Mother Earth, who is simple yet complex and unified yet diverse. The Mother Earth is a composite organism made up of living beings, ecosystems, and elements, all of which share a common sentience and purpose.

This Earth Day I have a week old baby. I gave birth ten days ago. While bringing another child into an overpopulated world I feel responsible for the damage being done to the Earth, meanwhile, my drive and motivation to secure a better future for all of Earth's children is enhanced. We must care for our mother as she cares for us. But how… how do we live?

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