I guess we should get it out of the way now that I’m a damn hippie. I walk barefoot, rarely wear bras, and speak to trees. No seriously, I talk to them. This is why I sort of despise Earth Day. Like … really? You’re going to dedicate one whole day, 18’ish entire hours, to your mother planet? How sweet. You know, cause you sort of live here and it would be asinine to make every day Earth day. I guess I’m just partial because the spirituality that I feel does not come from books or words, it comes from the ground and the trees. Which probably stems from my childhood. Cue emotional music.
I stayed with my grandparent’s a lot as a child, which I am eternally grateful for. They lived on a huge piece of land, near the Oregon Coast, in a little town called Eddyville. The house was planted in between forest on three sides, with endless roaming potential. This was a haven to a child; this was my Never-land.
I had the magic of speaking trees and rabbit holes.
I had the freedom of imagination and creativity.
I had the distinct pleasure of beds of moss and sunshine blankets.
Summer Sun-chips and rusty lawn beds,
tanned skin and bee stings. My friends were the birds, the deer, the trees, the land. They wrapped their arms around me and made me feel as though I would always be loved and cherished.
Gramma and Papa’s house,
was the island of make-believe.
And those two phenomenal human beings,
drew a map of imagination, and bestowed it upon me.
They gave me the Dr Seuss childhood,
filled with imaginary friends and running wild.
Being the first grandchild definitely has it’s perks. My Gramma and Papa doted on me, giving themselves completely to my growth and happiness. It was beautiful in those beginning years, and what I like to hold on to in my memories.
It is impossible to tell the story of my connection to Earth that blossomed at such a delicate age, without also paying homage to my grandparent’s. They are intertwined, you see. Man and Earth are partners, which is too often forgotten.
My Gramma. The most beautiful woman I have ever laid my eyes upon. The intelligence of this woman would knock you down; her mountains of books, classics, smell of the history of her life. I would often stand in front of the bookshelves and stick my nose deep within the book pages. Reading was our ritual, and Gramma’s voice made the stories come alive. Her intellect is astounding, for she sees the things that people often overlook. I would knock on the door wearing a mask, pretending to be someone else. She would always oblige. We spent years under the sun, Gramma writing her lists, and me taking pictures of her. I would try to emulate her cursive writing, not knowing what the words said. The beach was our second home. Crows stole our fries, and the sand stole our souls. Gramma taught me to deeply respect the Earth, in all of its forms. To never forget where we come from, or that the trees speak magical wisdom, if only we listen. I am who I am today, because of what my Gramma showed me.
My Papa. This man taught me everything I know about forever staying young. His trickster ways, the inappropriate jokes, the laughter. I learned my sense of humor from him. Papa is the type that never shy’s away from making someone smile. He taught his grandchildren how to drive the lawn mower, how to live in the moment, how to laugh. Papa is the strongest man I will ever know. He sacrificed everything for his family. He would often take me on road trips, just the two of us. These trips hold my fondest memories. I felt like the most important person in the world, the most loved. He fixed everything, broken cars, broken hearts. I am who I am today, because of what my Papa showed me.
The forest. Held all of my dreams, and all of my secrets. I would spend every hour of daylight up in between the trees. A unicorn hid there, my friend. I built forts with sticks that had fallen, and laid in beds of moss as if I were the Princess of the land. The forest oozed its wisdom into my pores, for I listened and opened intently. If it had not been for these trees, I may not have survived. There was a darkness that brewed inside of me, and the forest brought light.
My grandparent’s moved, a couple years ago, out of that home. Away from that forest. I was happy for them, but my soul ached knowing that I would never again be able to revisit the forest that I had weaved my soul into. The final visit was torturous; I went up to my favorite spot, alone, one last time. I wrapped my arms around one tree, hugging it closely. Tears streamed down my eyes and my breath grew short. I cried to them, “I know what man will eventually do to you, and I cannot stop it.” I forsaw the future; these trees, my magnificent friends, would someday be cut down. Their history, their widsom, would be lost. Torn from from the ground and used for trash. It pained me then, and it pains me now. It seemed so imcomprehensible as a little girl that these trees would one day not stand.
I drove by a few months ago, toward the coast, where we inevitibly have to pass by that old house. And as I allowed myself to gaze upon the land, the sight ripped my heart to shreds. Where once were bountiful green trees, was now just brown land. Ugly. Desolate. Disgusting. Do you believe that trees feel fear? Pain? I do. It was not just the trees that had gone, it was also my childhood. Change is something that I despise, and I knew at that moment that I could never go back.
This is the part where I return to addressing Earth Day. The one day a year that American’s pretend to give a shit about the environment that they steal so much from. If I ever decide to have children, which is unlikely, I would be so very afraid. I would want them to have the experience that I had, in a forest, on land, but would I be able to give that to them? I fear what this Earth is becoming, I fear what we are doing to it. I read books, I write on paper, I am part of this eqation and I am aware of that. But what if we could make Earth day ever day? What if we could all use just a little more care? Have a little more respect? Teach the children values that will preserve and not destroy?
I may be a hippie, I may be a tree hugging fool … but the Earth taught me more than any human ever has or could. And for that, and to my grandparents that opened that world up to me, I owe everything.