October and a Sacred Bond
As I write I am well aware autumn begins soon, and already the prairie next door is showing signs of seasonal changes. Indian grass is bowing, partridge pea petals grace the ground, and sunflowers have become part of the soil. Fall, what an apt name when so much of Earth’s community heads downward to rest on whatever lies below.
I had not thought of all this falling as a kind of desiring until I read Pattiann Rogers’ poem Signifying (Coming to Earth), which is full of gorgeous images of what seems to desire Earth this season. She writes of rain streaming into ravines; spiders dropping, sailing, gliding, settling in grasses; acorns, walnuts, knocking through twigs to get to earth; geese zeroing in and skidding to a lake-slide landing. According to the poet's imagination, all of these are seeking earth – earth is so desired! I was drawn to this poem because of my own desire for Earth. So many poets, artists, authors and musicians also express humanity’s love of our planet. But is that the end of the story, humans expressing their passion and creativity for our rare and precious planet?
Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, answered that question for me. In a chapter entitled Epiphany in the Beans, she tells of an awareness that came to her with a certainty as warm and clear as the September sunshine. What was the epiphany? She writes, Land loves us back. She loves us with beans and tomatoes, with roasting ears and blackberries and birdsongs. By a shower of gifts and a heavy rain of lessons.
Of course! I now realize the prairie has been loving me back all summer long in the scent of mountain mint, procession of colors, and abundance of wildlife enchanting me with their hopping, leaping, buzzing, humming, and darting. Kimmerer goes on to write, But when you feel that the earth loves you in return that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond. Now that is food for the soul, considering our mutual relationship with Earth as a sacred bond. Our oneness and interconnectedness – real and holy. Amen.