Today is EarthDay and I’m about to go teach on the Farm. While it seems pretty silly to talk about EarthDay (its every day, especially every Saturday for the Farm yogis!), I can’t go teach on the Earth and NOT talk about it 🙂
Five years ago, I was out in the Four Corners region of New Mexico with a group of big hearted students from Villanova. We stayed on land tended to by a Navajo, Dine, man – Larry – a scholar, artist, farmer, teacher and healer. One of the tasks that was the busy work of our stay was to help construct a rammed earth floor structure. We built doors and collected gravel from near-by to lay the rock to start the floor.
As we were laying the rock, we encountered an ant colony. Several, actually. And it was very clear that ants had made their home in the dirt right where we were planning to put in the rock. We couldn’t build over the ants – it wouldn’t be right, though may have been instinctive before our conversations and reflections about always being on sacred land. We chose to move them outside of the building, keeping them in tact as best we could, carefully scooping up the ant mounds with shovels and walking them outside. It was a moment that nature was calling out “hi, I’m here too.” And we responded with “okay. Let’s charge our way of thinking and proceeding to include what’s here. To respect it and take care of it.” Even in this small instance. It became a big instance.
There was more, though, the crux – Larry reflected back to us our divide and conquer methodology. We wanted to achieve an end result in the fast, most effective method possible, instead of taking time to reflect, pray, and truly become part of the nature we were interacting with. That rang in my bones as truth, but I was so unaccustomed to take the pause. It was a wake up point. Before that trip, I hadn’t realized that I am creation, creation is just not what’s around me. It’s not to be objectified – because I am it.
I still cannot buy ant traps – even in North Carolina summer. I sprinkle my house with cinnamon, and eucalyptus, and peppermint as an offering of sorts to a small creature that also participates in the being and doing of living.
So maybe this collective consciousness, reverence, and a pause is what takes us back to understanding and caring for the earth. The small stuff. Not building over an ant farm. Taking the time to make ceremony from old and stale productivity. Making the profance, sacred.
I’ve been reading Thomas Berry like crazy lately and there’s this quote I love about us having the same power that brought the Earth into being – we’re made of that. So how do we honor that? What do we do with that? “Know the connection between a Styrofoam cup and a sacred fire.” I think it’s knowing we’re the connection and we’re better beings for living from this place.
Thank you Larry for the teachings.