This Sweet Earth

I am dedicating this post to Earth Day 2017 – may the Earth continue to support and sustain us while we find a way to honor Her and all of creation.

If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.    Francis of Assisi

When we recognise the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection, love is born.  Thich Nhat Hanh

Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.    Evo Morales

[T]he care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.   Wendell Berry

 

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Earth.
Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth.

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Surprised by Vultures

Turkey vultures are a common sight in our area. Quite ugly with their naked red heads sticking out from a mass of dark feathers, they make a much more pleasing impression when they circle overhead, with a wingspread almost as wide as an eagle’s.

These scavengers are quick to spot dead animals and efficiently clean up any road kill. They probably deserve more respect than we are willing to give them. They are, after all, Nature’s undertakers and fulfill an essential role in the natural order of life and death. Still, I always feel a slight shudder when I see them gorging on a lifeless carcass.

A few weeks ago, I saw a group of vultures circling over our property and sometimes dipping down so low that the dogs would bark at them. I had seen one or two on top of a nearby hill spreading out their feathers in the morning sun.

But I did a double take when I saw so many of these large dark birds looming like grim reaper clones on the hill top.

What was this – a vulture congregation? Two of them kept flying at each other, sparring like fighting cocks.

And then they took off together, like a slow-motion flying ballet troupe – silently, effortlessly, breathtakingly beautiful.

WPC: Surprise

 

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Seeking Security

I was mesmerized by the intriguing patterns in this pond created by last season’s dried lotus stalks and their reflections on the water.

Bright spring green was popping up along the pond edges – perhaps cat tails?

I did not even notice this pair of Canada geese until they sounded a loud alarm.

They quickly took to the water and swam to the far end of the pond, away from this suspicious looking human. Distance and expanse of water provided the security they needed. Peace prevailed again.

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Security.

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Transformation by Fire

In ancient times, fire must have been a deeply mysterious and awe-inspiring force to us humans. It was flung from the skies in the form of lightning. It erupted from the innards of mountains and became a glowing lava river of destruction. When we finally learned to harness fire, it transformed our existence – we were able to cook our food, vastly expanding our culinary options; we were able to warm ourselves when it was cold outside which allowed us to move into the coldest climates on earth; and we were able to wage war with fire and produce greater degrees of pain and destruction. Fire allowed us to refine our weapons and tools, to harden our cooking vessels, and to fly into space.

Fire warms, transforms, and illuminates, but can also bring pain and death reducing everything in its all-consuming path to ashes.

Is it any wonder that we created symbols of divinity connected to fire? There is Agni, the Hindu God of Fire who exists in three forms: fire, lightning and the sun. The Hawaiians know Pele, the Volcano Goddess, who created the Hawaiian Islands with her enormous powers over fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes. The Greeks had Zeus, the God of Lightning. Many religions honored a sun god or goddess for the sun’s life-giving fire.

Fire is also a symbol for creativity, passion, and sexuality – do you remember “Light my Fire” by the Doors?

Fire bridges the gap between mortals and gods. We can now use fire for destructive purposes that, in the past, would have appeared god-like – rockets, missiles, atom bombs. On a more positive note, fire becomes the symbol of inspiration, purification and spiritual enlightenment in our higher spiritual pursuits. Our plane of duality is perfectly expressed through the dichotomies of the fire element.

No matter our personal knowledge of or experience with Fire, when Mother Nature unleashes her fiery minions – lightning, wild fires and volcanic eruptions – we stand in awe, reminded of the true scale of our existence.

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The Boldness of Pussy Willows

Earlier in March, I cut a few branches from my pussy willow shrub and brought them inside. The warmth of the house quickly turned the silvery white pillows of the catkins into yellow caterpillar creatures.  They seem so alive, they almost appear to be moving and twisting towards the sun.

 

When the honey bees are lured out of their hive on a sunny winter day, pussy willows provide the first pollen of the season.

They seem to draw the sun’s light into their little furry bodies and keep growing and expanding. Boldly, they lead the way, undaunted by howling winds or snow that covered the first crocuses and daffodil greens, until yesterday.

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