I'm sorry written in a field

My Earth Grief Experience

Hello dear ones,

Happy May!
Yesterday I took a walk in the rain! I wasn’t dressed for the water pelting me but I didn’t mind, I wanted to be soaked just like the land and plants were. And we were all sighing with relief at this most welcomed water.

You see, we didn’t get our usual April showers and snow like we usually do, so my grief for the earth has been my main grief this past month. 

What about you? What’s your main grief these days?

In my last blog I suggested a ritual to honor Earth’s grief.

I want to share my own experience of giving attention to a desecrated piece of land.

It was easy for me to find and get there because right now there’s a new development going in right near our home.

The developers decided to use the sidewalk and pedestrian path for the big construction trucks and bulldozers. I have no idea why! So for the past few weeks I’ve been watching them trample the area that used to be part of an open space meadow. 

I went and sat with that piece of land for a bit to hear what it had to say.

This is what it said:

“Yes, I’m sad, but it’s something I’m used to…the area beneath your house was also destroyed to build your very own abode. I’ve been being slowly changed and desecrated for many years now. And any progress comes with destruction. It’s part of growth, part of life. Yet I appreciate you noticing and coming to be with me.”

And then I offered it a piece of art. I thought I was going to create a mandala out of the rocks, broken concrete, some trash nearby, dried plants and grasses. 

But instead I got that all it needed were these words, “I’m sorry.”

So I wrote that three times with small pebbles left behind from the construction crew and dried stalks and flowers from my own backyard.

I also added a simple peace sign made from dried grasses from the meadow.

I noticed my own grief from this destruction and I felt Earth’s grief as I tuned in to all that has been destroyed throughout her life, and how she often isn’t recognized for all she’s given to us. I felt immense grief over her lifetime.

After making art I noticed a settling in my nervous system. I felt calmer and more grounded than before. 

I felt like a little kid again with mud on my knees from intimately kneeling to make art with rocks and sticks. I felt joy from having dirt underneath my fingernails; my busy hands working to create something in honor of her.

I felt closer and more connected to her, the mud and myself.

I met some people who were walking by, I sparked their curiosity and they stopped to talk to me. So I was even more connected to my own species. And that felt good too.

Mostly everyone appreciated what I was doing. I told them I was saying I’m sorry to the land for being destroyed by the construction vehicles. 

Some people ignored me, which didn’t surprise me.

But what did surprise me was then tuning into how the Earth feels when we ignore her. She feels so much sadness when’s she’s not acknowledged. 

This brought me back to Earth’s grief and how many people are so disconnected from her.

Later that day I had to drive to run errands and had this acute awareness of feeling more connected to the Earth. My eyes were open in a new way to just how much destruction has happened or is happening in my very own city. 

The very next day the crew came and placed chunky rocks on the path where I had made my art, so my art is no longer visible to the world. 

I wonder what the crew thought about what I left there. Did they feel remorse for what they were doing? Did they pause for a moment and acknowledge the changes they were making? I doubt it because I later had to pull a sign that had been knocked down on top of a wild plum tree. They were careless with their work. 

It pleases me to know that my words, written in rocks and flower stalks, are embedded in the mud beneath the new rocks. 

It feels like a subversive artful prayer for the Earth. 

And I feel more connected to this land than before.

So I will keep doing this practice that was inspired by Trevi Johnson’s book called “Radical Joy for Hard Times.”

And I thank Francis Weller for sharing this practice with me.

So, of course, I now want to hear from you if you did this mini ritual? What did the earth reveal to you? Please send me an email here and share with me. 

And if you’d ever like to go to some desecrated place together to do this practice, reach out. We can’t do this alone and we are more powerful with intentions and prayer when we’re together.

Grieve well, be well…Beth, your grief friend