This photo is from our time living in Alexandria VA near the Potomac River. It was late one afternoon and a fog was building as I went to a park along the river for a walk and had my camera with me. As I looked toward the bridge and highway construction I saw this image of a Great Blue Heron and some Geese peaceful in the water and misty setting then I became increasingly aware of the construction and development in the background and it appeared as if I was looking at the Encroachment of man onto the Natural World. Perhaps it is time for us to reflect on and reconsider what we call progress and improvement. Again the lyrics from a Joni Mitchell song “We paved paradise and put up a parking lot” enter my consciousness and I hear myself asking Why ? As a child and youngster I enjoyed the freedom of time in the Natural World as did my friends this was before television and shopping centers or malls and interstate highways all things that keep us inside our houses or vehicles. I am not against change just suggesting that we understand that we live in a world of opposites, and that for every gain there is a loss and what goes up must come down. I find myself both grieving for what has been lost, and at the same time feeling the joy of knowing that there is a time for everything, and that all around the world people are feeling the loss and separation from Mother Earth and seeking to reconnect to her and their Indigenous ancestry.

As Robin Wall Kimmerer says in the Epilogue of her beautiful and thoughtful book titled Braiding SweetGrass  ”The moral covenant of reciprocity calls us to honor our responsibilities for all we have been given, for all that we have taken. it’s our turn now, long overdue. Let us hold a giveaway for Mother Earth, spread our blankets out for her and pile them high with gifts of our own making. Imagine the books, the paintings, the poems, the clever machines, the compassionate acts, the transcendent ideas, the perfect tools. The fierce defense of all that has been given. Gifts of mind, hands, hearts, voice, and vision all offered upon behalf of the Earth. Whatever our gift, we are called to give it and to dance for the renewal of the world. In return for the privilege of breath” i strongly and lovingly recommend her book it is a life changer and we are in serious need of change in the way we relate with our Mother Earth.

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2 Responses

  1. Taylor says:

    This is a timely and meaningful post. The words you have wrote here Tom, are perfectly incapsulated in the “Encroachment” image and the portrait of the Heron, shows the royal majesty of the “Animal Kingdom.”

  2. Tom says:

    Thank you. The Great Blue Heron “King of the Marsh” equally at home in the elements of Air, Earth, and Water and in their aggressive self determination and self-reliance Fire. Such a solitary and graceful being yet able and willing to co-raise the young with his or her mate for the season.
    The Blue Heron has a presence in many cultures world wide. The Blue Heron, at home in either fresh or salt water, air and earth is showing us the importance of feeling comfortable with transition in our lives.
    We are living in a fragmented world the Heron is humbly and silently asking us to remember, reconnect, honor and to live within the the unity of creation.