Outdoor Encounters: Mother Earth

By Nathan Bolls on February 17, 2020

Mother Earth by Nathan Bolls

I recently received from a friend and was intrigued by “12 Truths I Learned from Life and Writing” by syndicated columnist, Anne Lamott. A sample follows:

   Number One: The first and truest thing is that all truth is a paradox. Life is both a precious, unfathomably beautiful gift, and it’s impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It’s been a very bad match for those of us who were born sensitive. It’s so hard and weird that we sometimes wonder if we’re being punked. It’s filled simultaneously with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, desperate poverty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together. I don’t think it’s an ideal system.

   Number Two: Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes—including you.

   Number Five: Chocolate with 75 percent cacao is not actually a food. Its best use is as bait in snake traps or to balance the legs of wobbly chairs.

   Number Eight: Families. Families are hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be. Again, see number one. 

   At family gatherings where you suddenly feel homicidal or suicidal—remember that in all cases, it’s a miracle that any of us, specifically, were conceived and born. Earth is forgiveness school. It begins with forgiving yourself, and you might as well begin at the dinner table. That way, you can do this work in comfortable pants.

   Leaving Lamott behind, I’ll bet that each one of you is itching to add a couple of truths that you’ve learned while living your life. After all, we at MLH represent en toto [wholly] a vast collection of educations, travels, experiences, heart breaks, and triumphs. In fact, I call for some MLH resident to take up a most worthy project: to solicit from each resident one truth they have come to believe (and why) as a result of their journey through life. What a magnificent trove of wisdom to be bound and placed in our MLH library—and given to family members!

   My turn: and my main passion has previously been fairly well established in this column.

   Number One: The countless parts and particles of our biological world, upon which we depend, are intricately woven together—and this delicate machinery did fairly well to maintain a workable balance for allowing the survival of species—before humans began to exert excessive hubris in attempting to dominate, destroy, and use up the Natural World.

   Number Two: The same is true for the physical world that also surrounds and supports us.

   Number Three: World over-population, greed, and the great inequities in accessibility to goods and services have become moral issues. No!? Just think of the polluted water, deprivation, pain, starvation, and death that can be laid at the feet of these conditions.

   Number Four: We’re never far from family. If Momma ain’t happy, there ain’t nobody happy! And Momma Earth ain’t happy; thus, we’ll see Earth’s children become more-and-more unhappy as the near future rolls by. And this definitely includes us! Oh, at some future point, a few isolated pockets of insects, molds, bacteria, and (perhaps) a few deep-ocean creatures might still be around. But even they will lead increasingly tenuous lives as their food supplies become more-and-more undependable.

   Number Five: Humans are notoriously slow in reacting intelligently to slowly-building crises. Politicians think in four-year re-election cycles, and they know that most voters vote both selfishly and in the now. So, why should any politician champion a long-term project that takes the voters’ thoughts away from all of the great things that particular politician promises for the near future? Yeah!? Heard all of that pie-in-the-sky stuff before. And most voters don’t want to think about having to sacrifice anything from their comfortable lives, even for a cause as essential as stemming the widespread, and most likely disastrous, ecological crisis bearing down upon us.

   We do need someone that can wake us up and make us believe—finally—that not a single one of us will get out of this mess without having to give up something. It’s kinda like the auto mechanic’s dictum: you can pay me little-by-little to keep your vehicle tuned up and running, and, probably, to head off some major problem, or you can pay me later, big time! 

   Number Six: Momma Earth becomes unhappier each day—and the kids won’t help with dishes.