“The earth is what we all have in common.” ~Wendell Berry
I love the warmth and brightness of sunny days, but I’ve always enjoyed the stillness that comes around as the rain starts to fall, as well.
Creatures retreat to the warmth and dryness of shelters and home spaces. Outdoor work and routines are rethought, sometimes placed on pause. The world, at least as far as the rain clouds stretch, quiets.
In some ways, these current moments in our world feel like one huge rainstorm—one that, instead of only a few miles, spans the entirety of our planet. And while there are moments that feel scary, as we all navigate uncertainty and unchartered territory, there are others during which glimmers of hope and magic seem to be surfacing.
Among the many posts about ways we can all take action to help keep our families and communities safe, there are also statistics emerging about reductions in gases relating to energy and transport, as well as photos of things like clearer canal water and satellite images showing dramatic declines in pollution levels.
While we’re all taking a break from the hustle and bustle of our daily routines—with all of our consumer-based ways in tow—maybe the Earth will have time and space to reset a little, to find a better balance, to heal.
Maybe we’ll have time and space to think more about the things we want and the things we need, and how our lives and our daily activities and patterns affect the world around us.
Maybe the waterways and the air will continue to become cleaner and clearer.
Maybe the dolphins will continue to come closer.
Maybe the levels of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide will continue to decrease.
Maybe the Earth will surprise us with the ways that it is able to make quick changes during only a brief pause in the output of our everyday industry and pollution.
And maybe we all will notice these changes and they will inspire us to make our own.
Patience. Kindness. Compassion. Love.
These are qualities of action and of being that will help us, and the people around us, to move through and around this smoothly. These are also qualities of action and of being that we can extend, in everyday ways, beyond this particular stretch of time, to our planet—as it, too, moves through and around this (and us) smoothly.
Keeping these qualities at the fore, while interacting with others, might look like truly listening while others voice their concerns or struggles. It might look like checking in with older neighbors to see if they need anything before making a trip to the store, making time to connect with friends and family members more frequently through the online world or phone calls, or just, in general, getting creative with how we connect.
And keeping these qualities in mind while interacting with and on behalf of our planet might look like continuing to be resourceful long after this unusual experience is over—really thinking about the things we buy, whether we truly need these things and how long they’ll last before they find a spot in a nearby landfill.
It might look like continuing to plan our trips better, so that we’re driving less—or growing more gardens, so that we’re less dependent on transported, packaged foods.
It might look like resource sharing with our neighbors… and doing whatever we can do to live in a way that is less focused on short-term desires and more focused on what is good for the overall wellness of this world that we all get to be a part of.
Sitting quietly outside, it feels like the wind is whispering, “Are you seeing this?” And I’m wordlessly responding, “Yeah, it’s as if the whole world is simultaneously awake and asleep—as if we’re all suddenly paying more attention and in the process of resting and resetting a little, in ways, as well.”
It is surreal, and strangely beautiful.