It is easy to get caught up in the grossness of the world, and especially as someone who strives for zero-waste and is conscious of every piece of garbage that lands in the house bin, I can easily get frustrated and angry at the over-consumption and wasteful habits of others. Some may call this lifestyle extreme, but I simply think I am doing my job to fulfill my environmental responsibility. The Earth and its elements are the only reason we are alive and we are destroying it piece by piece.
I see it every day. Headlines of pipelines, people protesting to protect land and water being attacked, oil spills. I see it in others’ habits, like using disposable cutlery as a daily use item, or those who do not compost or recycle or do anything for the planet that could compromise convenience. I see it every where I go, including out in the wilderness where a coffee cup was abandoned in a brush or a granola bar wrapper is caught in a stream. It is easy to become overwhelmed, throw up your hands, and say what is the point.
But yesterday I was walking along, alone, briskly through the snow, the wind lapping at my face, and my brain consumed with thoughts of life; the tasks behind me, the tasks ahead, the items on the checklist, the carelessness of others. I am going to get real poetic now because it was as if Mother Earth heard me and my brain and wanted to give me a reality check. I was so caught up in my thoughts I was not even taking in the landscape, so Mother Earth said, “Slow down, child. And look.”
A hole had formed in the grey mass of clouds above me and shone onto the hill I was walking down. The winter grass glowed golden, the trees were alive and green, and I stopped immediately, nearly tripping over my own feet. I looked across the valley and saw a frozen blue lake in the distance, snow powdering the tips of the mountain range, crows flying overhead, and a river that has over time carved itself through the land, meandering this way and that. The Earth is alive. And I was missing it. And then I remembered that this is why I do what I do and why every action you take matters.
I love my home. And I am alive.