SUNLIGHT AND SHADOW– Mother Earth: Love You Mom!

Welcome to the light and shadow of deeper spring. If we think about it, what is more earthy and  planety, than light and shadow? 

We revolve, rotate, rotate, revolve, and hopefully, relate and evolve around Plato’s Sun. From the philosopher’s viewpoint, the Sun belongs to Plato. His is the Sun of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. The One that teases us out of our shadowy caves, but I digress.

For the Osage calendar, John Joseph Mathews reminds us that April and May time is the Planting Moon (Wah-Pee) and the Little-Flower Killer Moon.

The little white prairie flower beauties that come early and leave early to make space for other beauties and for other growth to come.

The time when life and death stand near and help us to know the balance of Nature.

So many beautiful spirits to call upon as we speak of Earth. Starting with the Osage and all of our Oklahoma Native American brothers and sisters is a most appropriate and highly spiritual place to begin. 

The Navajo and Pueblo, our neighbors, all call us to know the balance and spirit of our home, nahashdzaan, Earth. For our earth-inspired literature, poet Mary Oliver, mid-west poet and pacifist, William Stafford, my friend Parker Palmer, William Wordsworth and the Romantics. Chief Seattle, St. Francis, Terry Tempest Williams, Greta Thunberg, Emerson, and Thoreau.

Beautiful voices that have always sounded for the respect and sustenance of Nature. Annie Leonard, Annie Dillard, and Anne Lamott who calls us to join dusk and dawn with open eye and open hearts. (Couldn’t resist that last list) Students, pick any name from above, read a poem or a paragraph, and make a new companion in connecting with the Earth’s advocates. Beautiful voices, beautiful Earth.

Our Earth: beauty, sustenance, bounty, mystery, font of knowledge, ocean, sky, and season. Inspiration and tranquility. Gotta love her! 

In light we do, in shadow we question, even as I must here in the middle of my Romantic-infused exaltations for Her.

I must speak of Mother Earth as the straight-shooter that She is. As Mother, she has some big responsibilities to a family beyond count, keeping life in balance with its millions of species, specialized topographies, and lawful systems.

She must mesh growth and decay, storm and calm, extreme and lack.  She must show no favorites, allowing forest growth and wildfire, ice caps and ice melt, flood and drought. She must even allow her beloved human species its adolescent and unwise behaviors.

Not to say she is not a fair Momma and that there will be consequences, as already built into Her time-tested systems and cycles.

In truth, her consequence of keeping balance can be bewildering.

Warm, sunny spring to devastating tornadoes, drought and wildfire to mudslide and California’s famous nice weather. From happy family beach days to rising sea levels. From artic to temperate to equator and back again.

Mama’s got a big home and tough choices to make. If only she could tell us how to behave. Right, as if we would listen, anyway. 

But feel somewhat fortunate. It could be worse. If Demeter, Goddess of fertility and growth, had not loved her daughter, Persephone, so much, and had not withheld her green favors in order to change the misogynous minds of Zeus and Hades, we could have lost the balance of the seasons. 

But mother love hung in there. Thanks, Demeter. The real mom stuff.

Balance it must be. Through Her housework of keeping balance, She reaches out to us with gifts of soft breeze, rustling leaves, green beauty, and blue of sky and water. Sunsets of pure orange and sunrises of pure pink. 

Her house is a Middle Earth of possibility for biological and psychological health. A home to thrive in even.

The metaphysics of Earth: as our secure home.  A lighting of our world that most of us can imagine or even know, and as immigrants and refugees dream of.

But darker metaphysics compete for our attention.  Science as knowing for knowing’s sake or human’s progress sake. Its first cousin, technology, vying for a different problem-solving set of skills than that of home-making.

And the metaphysics of accumulation and greed: we are king of the species, so take what we can and what we wish. Come on Humanity!  Really! I vote for the home one.

To set out in the cool morning and walk among the trees and fields and buildings as we complete our morning and later afternoon chores of bringing security and care to all of our brothers and sisters (no species left out) of Earth.

To siesta in warm sunlight, as we repose and reinvigorate for the finishing of chores. To head back to an evening of bread and friendship, hearth and home. Sunsets to watch, bringing the ease of night. Listening to Mother Earth’s bedtime stories of myth and folklore. (Go Professor Stout and Mythology and Folklore classes!) Safely buffeted from the winds and howls of shadow and dark. To sleep and dream and awake refreshed, imaginative and hopeful.  Living into the cycles of change and seasons, embraced by eons of a Mother’s wisdom. Happy Earth Day

A Short Poem for Mother Earth

First raindrops plop near us 

or mixed delight of warm and cold

a calling to love.

More light and less shadow. Go Humanities!