It has been raining on and off for days, and through the kitchen window comes the scent of wet earth and damp greenery. The word for this week might very well be rain, but it is earth and ground that call to the senses and the imagination. Tuesday, April 22 was Earth Day, and what better word for the Friday of the week than earth?
The word earth dates from well before 950 CE, and it comes to us through the good offices of the Middle English erthe, the Old English eorthe; the Germanic Erde, Old Norse jǫrth, Danish jord and the Gothic airtha, the many different forms springing from the Ancient Saxon eard meaning soil, home, or dwelling. All are also related to the Latin aro, meaning to plough or turn over. To be earthy or "of the earth" is simply to be connected to the world in which we live, to be a steward of our elemental home, a gardener, a gentle shepherd of wild places.
Where on earth does one find words and images to express the magnificence of the planet where we all walk and work and dream and live out our allotted days? I sit and mutter in front of the computer screen - I sort through archived images, come close to despairing and decide to renounce photography altogether before choosing something for this week. Giving up photography is unlikely to happen, but I am painfully aware of my creative shortcomings and sad that I cannot do better.
Feeling alone in our mundane strivings, craving wholeness and connection, we have only to look down at the good dark earth below our feet and know we are already there - we have only to look back on the journey we have taken this far and understand that we are a part of Mother Earth as She is part of us. To borrow the words of wise woman and deep ecologist, Joanna Macy, "We are our world knowing itself".
Here's another greening season, and there are signs, miracles and wonders wherever I look - there is no way I can capture them on a memory card, although my lens does its best, focusing with a clear and loving eye on what it "sees" in the great wide world. Deep gasshos to the Old Wild Mother, to Mother Earth who endures, forgives and strives to heal, who gifts us with another springtime and beauty everywhere. May we continue to witness her grandeur and patience and reciprocity, and may we be her fierce and loving advocates all the days of our earthly lives.
This post was amended slightly to fix what Lisa kindly noted as an error in the date posted for Earth - my slip was actually a sleepy typo - I should never write anything before the first espresso of the day. Thank you, Lisa! (I did observe Earth Day, with a trip to the woods as usual.)