Earlier this month, on a beautiful sunny day with flowers bursting open in trees, two woman friends and I walked through Balboa Park in San Diego. Our goal was to share exercise and communion with each other. We walked quickly for about an hour, talking the whole way. Finally we reached a grassy hillside with old crooked trees and I asked them if they'd like to sit and meditate a little. They happily said yes.
We sat quietly. Listening to the rushing river sound of the freeway below.
Birds flew above in the blue sky and eucalyptus trees. There was a feeling of being completely united with each other and with the world around us.
As spring opens the flowers and sends new shoots from the stocks of plants, it's easy to remember that the earth is our mother. We rest gently on her surface and feel nurtured and protected whenever we're near trees, mountains, or the vast view of the ocean.
She doesn't ask for much, although sometimes I think she cries. It's hard to feel the wars on her surface. She hurts when people suffer. She gives and gives; the minerals beneath her skin harvested; the waters from her body harnessed, channeled, and polluted. Yet she holds us like any good mother, unconditionally loving.
My first memories are of walking through plants that towered over my head. Even before I could speak much I had the feeling of being happy in nature. My mother was a master gardener and taught landscaping for years. Her excitement was contagious. My father and she loved to drive through the southwest. We visited Native American Indian ruins and the Grand Canyon.
My mother has been gone for three years and my father is recovering from heart surgery. But even in stressful times, when I'm near the quickening of plants I feel tranquil. I experience the sense of belonging to the earth; of being part of it. And I feel that we are loved.
What can we give back? Protection? Mindful stewardship of resources?
Even offering cornmeal or tobacco to the earth, as the Native Americans did, is an offering. Anything offered with love is a meaningful and effective offering, and I'm sure it helps heal Mother Earth.
As my friends and I meditated this month on the hillside above the freeway, three small bunnies hopped in front of us. Joyfully reflecting ourselves back to us, they bounced high into the air in sheer play.
Mother Earth loves us with such bountiful and infectious love, it's hard to imagine!