Remember when Arrested Development broke into the national music scene a decade or so ago? With their African rhythms, the drumming, the social-conscious lyrics, they were a breath of fresh air with an edge. We need some AD these days.
“Dig your hands in the dirt,
Children play with Earth.”
Turn off the TV. Get your old clothes on. Tell the kids to put their dirty clothes on too. It’s about time we get D-I-R-T-Y.
Plant the flowers. Get the veggie garden prepped. Dig a hole to contemplate how exactly you see the “hole” part of the hole. Get dirt under the fingernails. Walk in the woods. Lift rocks to look for crawlies. Dig worms and take a kid fishing. Make mud pies after the rain has stopped. Have mud pie battles.
It is important that we not lose our connection with the earth. To place significance on this thought is rather easy when one gives thought to death.
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust” isn’t just something to say to give symoblic meaning to our passing from this plane. It is testimony of who we are physically, and places much-needed remembrance of our place on this earth. Understanding of the familiar saying credited to Chief Seattle–We are a part of the earth, not apart from the earth–is essential if we are to care for the earth.
Care will come with intimate knowledge. Knowledge will come with learning through practice, as well as through study and scholarship. Knowledge needed to care for the earth can come with prolonged encounters with earth in its rawest states, encounters that breed respect for the earth in the face of human humility.
“Dig your hands in the dirt
Children play with earth.”
It is as elemental as that. Getting back to basics is all we need to do. Feel the earth. Watch plants grow out of it. Eat food that is nourished by it. Put your little ones in it and watch them. Get yourself in it. See what happens. Feel what happens.
(written 25 April 2004)