Welcome back the Trees!

Thursday April 22 is celebrated as Earth Day! How sad that we have to be reminded that it is all around us, above and below, to the left and to the right, and we are called to live in harmony with the earth which sustains us, nourishes us and delights us! Yes, the earth is restless. In places and at times its restlessness causes us to take notice and take cover!

Presently living in Kentucky, I am reminded all around me of the beauty of blue grass, of deep green pastures, or red rocks and fast flowing rivers. It is to the Kentuckian poet and farmer Wendell Berry that I turn and allow him to speak of the earth and to warn us of our spoiling and disregard. Listen carefully to his words and all that can be read between the lines! I share three pieces all from his 2010 book Leavings.

Look It Over by Wendell Berry

I leave behind even
my walking stick. My knife
is in my pocket, but that
I have forgot. I bring
no car, no cell phone,
no computer, no camera,
no CD player, no fax, no
TV, not even a book. I go
into the woods. I sit on
a log provided at no cost.
It is the earth I’ve come to,
the earth itself, sadly
abused by the stupidity
only humans are capable of
but, as ever, itself. Free.
A bargain! Get it while it lasts.

I go by a field where once
I cultivated a few poor crops.
It is now covered with young trees,
for the forest that belongs here
has come back and reclaimed its own.
And I think of all the effort
I have wasted and all the time,
and of how much joy I took
in that failed work and how much
it taught me. For in so failing
I learned something of my place,
something of myself, and now
I welcome back the trees.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…
Hosea 4:6

We forget the land we stand on
and live from. We set ourselves
free in an economy founded
on nothing, on greed verified
by fantasy, on which we entirely
depend. We depend on fire
that consumes the world without
lighting it. To this dark blaze
driving the inert metal
of our most high desire
we offer our land as fuel,
thus offering ourselves at last
to be burned. This is our riddle
to which the answer is a life
that none of us has lived.

Holy Creator God
The earth is the Lord’s
and all that is in it.
Forgive us for our reckless
and utter disregard for Creation.
Help us to welcome back the trees.
Inspire us to care deeply for the earth,
to treasure it’s beauty,
to be generous with its bounty.
Help us to walk gently upon the earth
to love it and mend it,
to share and celebrate it.
May all God’s creatures find a home,
and may we all have a home on this earth.

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