Last week we celebrated Good Friday and Earth Day wrapped into one. Perhaps we could combine it as Good Earth Day in the future. Naturally my Christian roots honoured the day when we remember and revere the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his descent into the darkness of death in the ultimate sacrifice. Was it not also at that moment that the sun dimmed and the earth was shrouded in a cloak of darkness?
In the southern hemisphere nature concurs, as the energies in plants and trees during autumn travel away from the flowers and leaves, down along the stem towards the roots deep in the dark underground for the winter rest.
Therefore it was also a good day to surrender to the garden’s pruning call. Time to cut back excessive summer growth and dead wood to clear the path for a magnificent spring. What needs to go? What is the vision to hold for the new beauty to come?
As I snip and saw away, I know this is now my inside garden work too. What no longer serves me, or blocks the beckoning new light? What are my shadows I don’t want to own, that lurk behind my back, just outside my reach? What in me needs to burn?
Excuses block the path
What keeps us back from environmental progress on this planet? Why so many heads in the sand? Why are we so short of courage? What are the excuses to maintain the status quo that we are so attached to? What is the communal shadow that needs recognition and liberation?
On Easter Sunday we walk in Helderberg Nature Reserve and experience the wasteland after the fire that destroyed 250 ha of fynbos the previous weekend. Courageous protea skeletons surrendered to the flames.
Charcoal fingers sweeping stark reminders onto my coat, and notes onto my soul. Others burnt underground into dongas at their roots. A final heart shaped surrender.
And then the sad figures of charcoaled tortoises caught in the flames. One big old chap perished on the fire path rim. Two steps in the right direction and he would have been saved. Did the smoke overwhelm and disorientate him? How close to life he lost it all. Couldn’t somebody have saved him? I wonder how many ended this way.
The gold of Easter morning
Yet even here I find the gold of Easter morning. In stark contrast to the black, all over dotted flower cores shine orange-gold like sunflowers. Beyond the seeds scattered by waves of heat, were left faces of life.
And I know. Nature will recover in her way. We look forward to a splendid show of flowers in the spring; some new life will come from resprouting, which has already started, and some from reseeding. In a week or so the fire lilies will show their lovely faces.
After the fire, we will all rise again and live more sacred lives. Once the shadow gets a face, new life can flow.
‘Faith is a bird that feels the dawn and sings while it is still dark,’ said the Indian writer Tagore.
This planet is a story, we pen the tale with our choices.
What history do we want to write?