Uncommon Gratitude

Photograph by Eugene Richards

BEFORE ME LIES a slope of wild grasses, saturated in the copper light of early autumn. Insects dabble in wild asters and Queen Anne’s lace, and animal trails wind through the dense greenery. But just where the terrain should plunge steeply through a woodland of maple, beech, cherry, and ash trees, it flattens out like a gigantic tennis court or helicopter landing pad. What just a few weeks earlier and for many thousands of years before had been a hillside in rural northeastern Pennsylvania has been sliced in half by a five-acre concrete slab. It is, in fact, the site of a new gas pad. The next step in the process of redefining this place will be the hydrofracking that will shoot 6 to 8 million gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals a mile down, then horizontally through the bedrock, which, so punctured, will release its stores of natural gas.

Looking down, I can’t help but feel sorry for this hill and everything associated with it: the birds and animals that lived in the woods, the water table that may be contaminated by the chemicals, the shapely hillside itself, the farm family that lives just a few hundred feet away, the soil, the rock, even the microbes that live in the rock and will receive a lethal dose of biocide to prevent them from clogging up the pipes. I also feel sorry for myself, because I take the land around me personally. I wish there were something I could do to acknowledge what’s happening here, what’s being taken away.

Or maybe what I want is some way to thank the place for what it gave for so long and can give no more. Or—the thought strikes with conviction, if illogic—I’d just like to cheer the place up.

 

THE GIFTS A PLACE GIVES to people are abundant. A list of those that my own places have provided might include:

the angle of sunrise

the creek

the trail to the peak

ripe tomatoes in the garden

neighbors

the views embraced by windows

the calls of ravens

cherry blossoms in spring

the fox prancing over the grass at dawn

sidewalks, alleys, shortcuts that know me

a tree that looks like a candelabra in the meadow

birdsong in the morning

crickets at night

the New York City skyline

stars

green grass in the backyard

green grass in the neighborhood park

sunshine on dew

moonlight on snow

the angle of sunset

 

When I receive a gift I am acutely conscious of both the gift and the giver, and gratitude spreads through me. This gratitude coalesces into a wish to give something back. I long to please my giver, endow that generous benefactor with something that will offer comfort, nourishment, and delight equal to what I’ve received. When my benefactor is a place rather than a person, however, my role as recipient is less direct. I’m someone who has inadvertently stepped beneath a stream of beneficence not specifically intended for me but suddenly pouring all over me. If I wished to offer thanks, how would I do so? Does a place have consciousness, such that it can receive gratitude for what it has given just by being itself?

People of traditional cultures would say yes, indisputably, and moreover that the expression of gratitude is not a single act taken in response to a single instance of bounty, but part of an ongoing cycle of giving and taking, taking and giving. In the late 1980s and early ’90s I spent a lot of time on Navajo and Hopi lands, writing about a land dispute and relocation issue. The Navajo families I visited would make a simple prayer to the plants they wished to harvest, the sheep they were about to butcher, explaining that they intended to take from them. They assured those living beings that what they were doing was necessary for the good of the human inhabitants of the place, and expressed their hope that the plant or sheep people might continue to flourish as well. Only then would they harvest the plant, draw the knife across the throat of the sheep. The reciprocity in this simple ceremony was implicit.

Contemporary non-natives might consider such practices touching but arcane, and rather irrelevant to our own lives. Pause in gratitude for each item we drop into our cart as we rush through the supermarket after work, inventing as we go the meal we’ll put together for the family dinner? Thank the rare-earth minerals invisibly melded into our smartphones every time we open an app? Not likely. Most of us are far removed from that perpetual wheel of giving and taking.

 

DRIVING THROUGH rural Pennsylvania, a friend and I pass a large farm. Spread out on a green field among an array of attractive white farm buildings with red trim are dozens of small white plastic crates. We know that inside each one a veal calf is being raised. We know, too, that these young animals were separated from their mothers immediately after they were born and that they will spend their entire short lives tied up in these crates, which are so confining the animals can’t even turn around. My friend and I fall silent as the rows of crates slip past the window and disappear behind us. Eventually, we speak of how sad we feel to see animals treated like that. We affirm, as if trying to prove to each other that we’re somehow addressing the problem, that we ourselves never eat veal. But we wish there were something more we could do to end their suffering.

When a beautiful place is rendered unbeautiful, when a generous place is exploited until it can give no more, when an animal is forced to endure cruel conditions, our tendency is to turn away. A polluted, disturbed, unsightly place becomes a castoff, like an old, threadbare item of clothing or a kitchen appliance that no longer works. Once a place bears this stigma of contagion, says author and University of Vermont environmental studies professor Adrian Ivakhiv, it becomes “taboo,” off-limits, sometimes officially, sometimes just in the individual or collective mind. “Just as humans have set aside certain places for sacred or ritual events,” Ivakhiv says, “other places have been set aside because they are too dangerous or damaged to be in contact with.” Such a place seems to have lost not only its appeal but also its validity, both as a part of the physical landscape and of the psychological landscape of the human community that once valued it.

Certainly these sad, toxic, taboo places deserve as much recognition and gratitude as their unmolested counterparts. They’ve taken on a burden that other places have been spared. An Oneida friend of mine once compared wounded places to veterans of war. “They’ve given a lot,” he said. “You may not agree with the war, but you have to honor the warriors.”

When I consider the places I’ve loved and lost, I long to bring them comfort. I wish there were some way to say, I’m sorry. I appreciate you. I want to help. Whether in gratitude or compassion, sorrow or delight, recognition of how things used to be or consolation for what’s coming, I who have been gifted by a place wish to figure out some way to return the gesture. But what kind of gift would be right for a scraped hillside slated for fracking? For calves confined to life in crates? For all the polluted rivers, clearcut forests, diminishing wildernesses, and smoldering dumps? What I seek is a gift I can offer whenever it’s needed. It has to be light enough to carry and affordable enough that I can easily stock up on a large supply. It must be specific, personal, portable, and rare.

 

ONE POSSIBLE ANSWER comes to me on a backpacking trip with friends in the canyons of southeastern Utah. On a clear blue and gold morning in late spring, I leave camp and go off to explore a particularly alluring side canyon. My eyes are dipping up and down between the cliffs, where I hope to spot Anasazi ruins, and the dry wash, with its smooth stones the colors of jade, blood, and slate, when a tree moves into my line of vision. I am fully aware of it, as if it has suddenly stepped forth from its seclusion on the bank. Lightning-charred, ragged, gouged with holes, obviously a cottonwood in its former life, it demands to be reckoned with.

There is something venerable about a tree struck by lightning. Nakedly it bears its whole history: life, death, the cause of its death, and sometimes even its survival after death. I try to imagine this tree when it was alive. It must have been a formidable presence here in this stone canyon. Rabbits and deer would have sought it out for its tasty shoots, especially in the winter months, when the buds continued to develop. Many birds would have nested in the tree, and owls would have perched in it at night to watch for prey passing underneath. When branches fell off, which would have happened with increasing frequency as the tree got older, woodpeckers, bats, and even bears could have found food and shelter in the hollows. Without question, this tree gave a lot during its long life.

Impulsively I feel the urge to celebrate the abundance of gifts it gave by offering a gift of my own. From the wash I collect stones in the brightest colors I can find and ring them around the base of the tree. I pick wildflowers and place them in the holes pocking the trunk, select shapes of bleached wood and arrange them amid the stones. The bright colors stand out, jewel-like, against the shiny ebony char. When I have completed my ministrations, the tree looks resplendent enough to preside at some great ceremony. As for me, I feel I’ve formed a compact with this venerable being. “Sometimes it is necessary / to reteach a thing its loveliness,” writes Galway Kinnell in his poem “Saint Francis and the Sow.” I feel I’ve done much the same for this noble wreck of a cottonwood.

The discovery itself is a gift: by offering a bit of beauty to a being or place that has been felled, fracked, polluted, abused, or in some other way robbed of its dignity and purpose, I can replenish its loveliness. By believing—and then acting on—the conviction that a place is worthy of receiving some kind of gift, my consciousness shifts from anger, disgust, or sadness to one of compassion, engagement, and creativity. I realize that when my friend and I passed that veal farm, we could have stopped the car, gotten out, picked wildflowers from the roadside, and arranged them on the grass in honor of the calves. We could have sung a song or made a prayer.

Offering a gift to a damaged place is a burst of compassionate action like the splash a pebble makes when it’s tossed into a pond. Only I don’t ask myself where the ripples might lead; I focus on the splash. Making a spontaneous gift to a place doesn’t require me to spend money, be an expert, mobilize people, or haul in supplies. No one knows I’ve given it, and I’ll get no credit for it. Once I leave the place, the gift belongs not to posterity but to the winds, rains, and animals. Its efficacy can’t be measured, but, like a kiss, a laugh, or the instinct to rush to the aid of someone who’s tripped and fallen on the street, it’s an impulse I agree to act on because I’m a human being seized with the urge to respond to the world around me. My gift can be a first step to further activism on an issue, but it can also be an act complete unto itself—whimsical, wild, temporary, imperfect, and wonderfully impractical.

 

IT’S NOW MIDSUMMER, and industrial-sized gas-drilling trucks have begun grinding up and down a graveled slope near my village. I feel the familiar heaviness and despair encroaching, but then it occurs to me that I could visit the place and see what, if anything, I might have to offer.

On a Sunday afternoon, when the crews have the day off, I slip past the no trespassing signs, duck under a metal gate, and start up the hill. The gravel road, wide enough for two trucks to pass without scraping each other, looks incongruous cutting through the mixed hardwood forest dotted with overgrown meadows. About half a mile from the main road both the hill and the gravel level off at the gas pad. A large rectangular plot has been cleared, and sheets of sticky, black, feltlike geotextile material lie over the entire area except the middle, where, a few feet above a hole about the size of a child’s wading pool, pokes the gas well, neatly capped. Around the pad stand a generator; tall lighting structures; a few of the boxcarlike containers that the gas companies use to transport water from rivers and streams to drilling sites, where they mix it with fracking chemicals and sand; a port-o-john; and other pieces of equipment bespeaking the imminence of major activity. Yet all around, on the perimeters of the cleared area, life carries on as if nothing were amiss. Wild daisies, purple clover, orange hawkweed, and Queen Anne’s Lace are already reclaiming the verge of the cut woods. Late afternoon sun suffuses the foliage with emerald light, and deep in the woods a hermit thrush sings its flutelike song. As I look around, a pair of bluebirds flits over the gas pad toward a tree.

There are moments when I find myself so seduced by the life of a place, carrying on in the way it must, that all I want is to abide there for a while. I want to be part clover, part maple leaf radiating sun, part song of thrush, and only enough human that I can relish and remember the experience. Yet because I can’t be anything but fully human, I am unable to prevent my vigilant mind from interrupting that ravishment with knowledge of the imminent destruction of this place. I savor the moment and mourn the future, especially since the motivation for what is about to happen here is the extraction of fossil fuel to feed a world that is already cooking itself to death.

I don’t know exactly what I have in mind when I step over the rolled edge of the geotextile. All I know is that I want to get closer to the reality of this newly industrialized site and my own responses to it. For a while I just wander, covering territory, looking around and looking within. Then it comes to me to form poses, something like yoga postures. First, arms outspread, body leaning forward like a masthead, I am a bluebird on the wing. Next I’m the massive metal wellhead, currently doing nothing but holding tight and waiting to be called into service. I am myself, bent over in sorrow for what will be lost when the fracking gets underway.

By now I’m swept up in this activity. Tilting forward, I plant my hands on the ground, then slide fully horizontal, like fracking liquid shooting into shale. I am a daisy turning toward the sun. I am gas bubbling through pipes, microbes flinching from the gathering biocides. Since I derive my new postures from the asanas of yoga, I name them “gasanas.”

By the time I step back over the edge of my sticky, black, improvised yoga mat, I’m splotched with tarry goo, but the place itself feels different to me, less a lovely and innocent being facing a cruel future, more like a source of resilience and relentless creativity. Deep down I know it’s really my attitude, not the place, that has undergone this transformation. But that itself is significant. Mourning what was, absorbing as best as I can what is, and expressing the two through a spontaneous, playful offering, I have implicated myself in the situation at hand.

I’m still unhappy about the industrial activity that has happened and will happen here. But looking around at the daisies, the woods where the thrush still sings, the gas pad that—who could have guessed it?—can easily be transformed to a performance space, I realize that I love this place. I bow in gratitude before turning to walk back down the hill.

Trebbe Johnson is a writer and since 1993 a guide of vision quests, workshops and other mythic journeys. In 2009 she founded Radical Joy for Hard Times, a non-profit organization devoted to finding and making beauty in the Earth’s wounded places, and currently serves as executive director. She has camped alone in the Arctic, studied classical Indian dance, written journalism about the Navajo and Hopi people, and slept in beautiful wilderness areas from her own back yard to the Sahara Desert. Trebbe Johnson lives with her husband, Andy Gardner, a potter and rustic furniture maker, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania.

Comments

  1. Hi Trebbe

    I loved your article of love and how you transformed the fracking site into a performance space. Your reverence was palpable. I shared in this experience ; thank you.

  2. Beautifully written and right to the heart of the matter. Our Mother Earth is a living, breathing organism that gives of herself for our survival. And we just keep taking more. I bow to your reverence and add my voice to yours.

  3. Reverence is good, but temporary, if we continue to do the hurtful things to each other and to our planet’s life-support system we are doing directly and indirectly now.

    Is this inevitable? Absolutely not!

    And in my 12 page paper, “Consciousness & Knowledge” I show how regions and countries around the world can develop modern life-support sustaining economies and ways of life. The paper also shows the minimum that those alive over the next 60 years need to accomplish and how to cost-effectively accomplish them to improve contemporary life and leave our descendants their best chance to live in a peaceful, prosperous and life-support sustaining future. The paper is available free at jimbell.com, click on the “Consciousness & Knowledge” heading.
    All the best toward a life-support sustaining future.
    Jim, 619-758-9020, [email protected]

  4. I know from life long experience that it is possible to bring Light and Life energy back into a place that has been darkened by despair and destruction. We did that often at the Nevada Test Site… bringing some beauty and balance to the place. Thanks for a wonderful story.. there is a need for all kinds of action, but especially acts of love for place.

  5. Beautifully written article. Still, I found myself wondering what Derrick Jensen’s reaction to the author’s decision to react to the fracking site by performing a yoga ritual there… I reckon he would have called for a bit of direct action!

  6. I think I understand… where you are coming from.
    To a certain extent, I have.. perceived that the power I have as an individual subject.. woman on Earth has its roots in the experience you describe.
    I will go further, however. When I was a child, 50 years ago, my nuclear family said grace before every meal, and my father paid his taxes to the U.S. government AND his tithe to his church before putting money in HIS pocket.
    Being grateful is something that our society has.. lost, and it is hurting us more than we can know. To a very great extent, we have lost this.. GRACE because we have not kept our faith. Our faith in the faith of our fathers…which goes far beyond the individual question of believing in God, or not.
    Since I was raised to know and love the Bible, there is poetry in Ecclesiastes that goes something like this : “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven : a time to be born, and a time to die ; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted ; a time to kill, and a time to heal ; a time to break down, and a time to build up ; a time to weep, and a time to laugh ; a time to mourn and a time to dance : a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together ; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to get, and a time to lose ; a time to keep, and a time to cast away ; a time to rend, and a time to sew, a time to keep silence, and a time to speak ; a time to love, and a time to hate, a time of war, and a time of peace…” Ecclesiastes 3.
    What is so devilishly difficult about being human is trying to… discern what is appropriate at which.. time.
    You will notice that the prophet does not absolutely condemn hate and war. They are a necessary part of the human condition…they too, serve a purpose under the sun.
    That said… gratitude also serves a very important purpose. AND GRACE.
    I can not see the places around me destroyed and not feel my spirit diminished.
    But gratitude… and gratitude to place, I can feel it in a multitude of ways…
    When I knew that I was carrying a girl child, her first name imposed itself on me : Anne, from the Hebrew “hannah”, which means… “grace”…

  7. Beautifully written with insight and heart. I would like to offer the possibility of another petal of awareness unfolding with the knowledge that wild flowers too, are living, feeling beings. The innocent intent to pick them as a beautiful offering to the now dead cottonwood tree, takes away their living beauty, as they wilt and die in the desert sun. When I see living things in desert environments, I always marvel and appreciate their ability to co-exist and survive in a beautifully rugged environment.

  8. Thank you for the beauty you bring to the world by your thoughts and actions and by sharing your stories. My heart has been heavy with sadness for the land around my home in North Carolina which is readying itself for toxic coal ash dumps and the start of fracking. Your words have buoyed my spirit and will help guide me in trying to stay centered in love and compassion for this place rather than sorrow. Thank you.

  9. My eyes welled up reading this as I understood that feeling of wanting to give back the gratitude of a place. I have mourned the gentrification of specific places in both cities where I have lived. In San Francisco where I’m from, recently this area was torn down to make way for expensive condos. What they tore down was this wonderful 100 yr old cafe where I would eat breakfast when I visit and stay nearby. Also, a surf shop from the early 60s, a soul food BBQ place, and a motel. The area held such great memories for me and now it only exists in my mind and not in real life. My heart aches when significant places with such magical essence have to be destroyed in the name of ‘progress’ so that more humans can take over and eventually make the area a place I can’t be anymore.

  10. This is a magnificent essay, as are the comments above —
    al

  11. I understand your point. But, there is another way to understand what is being done. We have depend on oil from foreign countries. Oil is a natural resource we need. Why are we paying outrageous rate to obtain this resource when we have it in our back yard? This is a wonderful and beautiful country. It can sustain itself at a much lower cost which wold bring down the cost of living and ultimately, benefit the citizens of this land.

  12. I loved this article, Trebbe, and the comments. I rarely know how to articulate what gift giving to a particular place means to the place. I do know what it means to me. Four times a day I take my three rescue dogs down the trail to a nearby pond, and park myself on an old moss covered rotten stump. I sit and ponder the water, the dogs, the particularly hard time I am having at this time, and I wonder what it would be like to give thanks to the stump. Every walk now, I find something beautiful – a rock, a piece of wood, a leaf or several, birch bark, shells from the acorns the squirrels have eaten. I wonder about the cognitive or conscious capacity of that stump, of its roots still giving life and habitat to thousands of creatures I can’t see, still feeding the roots of neighboring trees. Robin Wall Kimmerer in Braiding Sweetgrass writes of reciprocity. I think I have been learning to practice reciprocity. The stump and the treasures, the pond, the dogs, the moss, and I are woven together in inexplicable ways, and I am grateful.

  13. and to Robert above re Derrick Jensen, we all give from the gifts we have. It’s a god thing, I think, that they are not all the same. That said, I would love to have a little more Derrick Jensen within me. Thank you

  14. Wow! Although my English is poor but I kept reading till end to relish the feast of words which represent the whole Nature as lively and vibrant. I am going to share this article with my friends to sensitize them about the importance of Nature and Earth in our own happiness and well being. I congratulate Trebbe Johnson for her extraordinary skills of expression and communication which have capacity to motivate and mold the behavior.

  15. A beautifully written article that reminds me of our connection with our home world and all the living beings who traverse her. As one of my friends tell us which has been told from his elders, “look around, all of this is Life, and we are all connected”.

    Honor and celebrate all Life, and see beauty everywhere. Even in the places we judge to be ugly or inhumane.

    Peace.

  16. Thank you, Trebbe, for caring so much for Mother Earth. For loving her, and all that she gives life to.
    For holding it all in such high regard. The world is definitely a better, more beautiful place with you in it !

    Blessings

  17. Knowing that fracking destroys our water supply and that (as DR. Emoto has discovered) all water is mysteriously molecularly connected and thus the survival of our species is what’s really at stake here if we continue to allow frackers to destroy us, I see your reverent action as a bow to the human species as much as to the sorrow in losing a place. We are not separate from our planet…all life is connected. Thankyou for honoring life. It’s so appalling to me that those who destroy pieces of our planet and refuse to acknowledge our connections just don’t see it.

  18. This beautifully written article evokes mixed feelings and thoughts in my mind and heart. I am 90 plus years old. I was born in a little village-like town in Gujarat, India. Life was simple with no modern amenities. Everyone knew every other person. I have seen major changes taking place in the same little town and in many other places. I have mixed feelings and thoughts visiting them at this age. A sense of wonderment and awesome feelings and a sense of loss of natural beauty and natural living.

    Basically, I am a compassionate person. I feel deep compassion for human , animal and plant , trees , earth and water suffering. I feel gratitude to life giving energy to all these sources. I find it difficult to feel gratitude for hands and heads destroying life in any form. I feel close the those asking for forgiveness for taking life away for their survival. I feel indignation for those torturing and justifying their actions to serve their self-centered need and greed. I forgive myself for being angry at them and do whatever I can do to do the right thing. Is there an easy solution? I do not know.

    Namaste.

  19. It is interesting that Trebbe describes the ‘offering’ to the lightning-destroyed tree — gathering stones, and arraying them around the tree — the metaphor of the stone in water. A human has cast it. This activity exists on a sliding scale, a continuum, that, yes, includes fracking. The urge for humans to alter what is around them takes on many scales and forms. And indeed, any living organism, dropped into a ‘pristine’ environment will immediately distort the energy flows that existed before its arrival. I would note that she arrives at that tree *only* because she had available hydrocarbons to burn in the vehicle that got her to the trailhead in Utah from Pennsylvania. There are no ‘solutions’ for the human species — we cannot wave a wand and make our effect on the flows around us go away. We can decide where on the continuum we happen to stand. From consuming ourselves to death to starving ourselves to death. Death will gradually remove the distortion of our own negentropic existence. Life distorts the fabric of the cosmos, period. Is this suffering? Is it the cause of suffering? Who can say? Indeed, some believe that Life came about as a phenomena to more effectively accomplish the ‘unwinding’ of the universe via entropic decline. Life definitely speeds up the process of converting more complicated energy forms into heat that dispels into deep space… At any rate, I’ve been doing works around this idea of an organism distorting the flows around it — a performance series taking place in remote locations in the desert West: “changing the course of nature” — you can listen to some evidences of this at http://tinyurl.com/lh9f7tx — you are welcome to explore!

  20. This is a thought-provoking topic and so beautifully written. Thank you!

  21. I absolutely applaud Trebbe for such an incredible insight and sharing such a deep and very profound article and a message for all of us to contemplate on gratitude towards spaces. Mother Earth has and continues to give off of herself to us so much and completely unconditionally, not concerned with colour, creed, race, caste, religion, etc. She is teaching us so many lessons in values and ultimately at the end of our journey, she opens up her chest and gives our physical bodies a place to rest within herself, which is a profound lesson for all of us human beings to embrace in and to feel immense gratitude.

    I also loved Debra’s reference to the concept of different Times in our lives according to the Bible. I am sharing this article with my clients and coaching them on being grateful and practicing gratitiude towards open spaces and Nature as a whole.

    Thank you so much for a sensitive matter and helping us to see gratitude in a whole new light.

  22. I’m a Master Composter in New Mexico and want to congratulate you on your GREAT job!

  23. Once again Trebbe transects the ugly with the artful. In that mysterious place at the center emerge rays of light, love and laughter! As I am in the midst of reading Russell Brand’s book, ‘Revolution’, with its preposterous and outraged humor, it occurs to me to invite the permitting members of FERC ( Federal Energy Regulatory Agency) the fracking industry CEOs, and all their Stockholders to a picnic on the pad. Complete with wine, celebrities, media (which of course would be there anyway, to serve the Masters) and perhaps a special tantric yoga teacher to adjust the “gasanas” Trebbe envisions.
    Just let your imagination run wild with it…all filmed subversively by drones from above launched by anarchistic teenagers!
    I bow to the ridiculous…which is what fracking REALLY means in my language.
    P.S. I happen to be currently serving as a member of the Radical Joy Board of Directors aka ‘The Band’. It’s not so far-fetched, eh?

  24. Can we find a way for everyone to experience what you describe in these words….”There are moments when I find myself so seduced by the life of a place, carrying on in the way it must, that all I want is to abide there for a while. I want to be part clover, part maple leaf radiating sun, part song of thrush, and only enough human that I can relish and remember the experience”? Maybe then the earth would become a place to steward and nourish rather than relentlessly abuse.

    Wonderful essay and unique perspective, Thank you.
    Leslie

  25. It is so sad. Pretty soon, all we will be doing is mourning our natural places. One by one, they will be and are being replaced by the priorities of human greed and consumption. Why can’t we see???!!! Why can’t we all feel the pain of the planet???!!!

  26. The love of the natural world is touching and beautifully written.

    However, the REAL healing of the fracking site would be to destroy the site
    and restore it, In addition, communities should bar things like this to occur.

  27. Thank you, Trebbe. I am so with you! My slogan is “If you want to heal the Earth, GO OUTSIDE.” It seems to me, our attention, our love, and an authentic relationship like you describe MUST blend with Earth’s own essence to transform Earth and Self. I am starting to believe we have the power to ease earthquakes and balance weather patterns with collective consciousness. In my imagination, as more of us awaken to this connection and nourish Earth with our love and appreciation, we create an energy field that heals and awakens the truth of our union with the great mother of us all. When they come from the heart with such passionate purity, “gasanas,” singing, stone gathering, and flower gifts are all powerful activism that penetrate the universal mind without any negative reverberations. Your words are a powerful, clear invitation to transform despair and hopelessness into healing presence. A deep bow!

  28. Trebbe, I had not read this beautiful piece before and I am deeply moved. Indeed I will participate in the Global Earth Exchange again this year but with fresh ideas about how to offer love and renewal and honor to a ruined or wrecked piece of our earth. Thank you for sharing your powerful vision and for your gift of words to express such lovely ideas.

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