Sunday, March 30, 2014

#130 How to Love the Earth

Dear friends,
    My love for the earth has led me in a couple of strikingly different directions this week, and I'm feeling called to share, even though you heard from me not that long ago. 
    Last Saturday was a warm day that seemed like a herald of spring, and I realized that this was the time to prune the cherry and peach trees that I'd planted in the community garden.  It feels like a great responsibility--doing right by the trees that help nourish us, and I put time into doing it as well as I could.
    Then on Monday, I participated in a protest against the Keystone XL pipeline**. I went with the intention of risking arrest--a big stretch for me--but ended up standing aside.  It was clear that those of us who stayed all day, singing and supporting the civil disobedience were critical to the success of the event as well, and I went home with tons to think about:  different kids of courage; what it means to stay fully awake to both the situation around me and what's going on inside; the puzzle of how to put your body on the line when the line is not visible.  All that will take some time to brew, and you may hear more later...
    But I also came home very much under the weight of the threat of the pipeline, particularly since it looks likely that the President may well make a decision on it in the next couple of weeks.  So I decided to do something that can't be more different from risking arrest:  writing a letter to the President.  Actually I've written three so far, with two more in the works, and posted them on several FB pages.  I'd like to invite you to join me.
    So here's what I've got for you today:
Five letters to the President, and a link to his e-mail page (you're welcome to any or all of my text).
A promise to be in touch about the issues the protest brought up for me.
And a poem from last March about pruning.
**For those of you who may not be aware, this is a plan to pipe crude oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada through the prairies of the midwest for export from the Gulf coast.  It seems clear that exploiting the tar sands fully would tip climate change to a trajectory that is irreversible and life-threatening, and that the pipeline would not only encourage that exploitation, but also pose enormous threat to the land and water supplies on its route.  For more information, go to

Dear President Obama

I implore you to do what you know is right, and stop the Keystone XL pipeline.  Big money will hate and vilify you for it, and your short term legacy may be compromised by their lies.  But if you do the right thing, and we end up with a future on this planet, all the world's grandchildren and great grandchildren will thank you for the single most important action that you took to ensure their chance to flourish.

In making your decision about the Keystone XL pipeline, please keep the needs of the seventh generation in the front of your mind.  You don't have to be re-elected.  You have the luxury to do the right thing.  Go down in history as a climate hero--the one who turned the tide. 

You have an unprecedented chance to make a difference for the whole world by stopping the Keystone XL pipeline.  Please do the right thing.  Don't give in to big money.  I bet you'll sleep better at night. 

We're smart enough to find a way to live with less oil.  Please choose for the potential of our intelligence rather than for the pressures of greed.  Say no to the Keystone CL pipeline and yes to a still-unknown, but potentially livable future.

I could offer pages of scientific reasons to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, but at root I think it's a simple moral choice:  health is more important than money.  Ultimately we can't build a healthy economy on the foundation of an unhealthy earth.  Our children and grandchildren won't thrive.  Please do the right thing.

And here's the link:

On a fruit tree pruning workshop at Bartram’s Garden

The melody line dips and soars
through roots, buds, branches
soil, sun, fruit.
The base is a steady
love, love, love.

The buds will lead the way in spring
while the roots are still asleep—
They touch the sun.

Remember the children when you prune—
They need a place to sit
a way to climb.

Feed the trees with a woodsy compost mix—
Think of what they love
and how the fungi nourish them.

I’d cut back on the branches here—
Make it so the sun can find a way
to kiss the fruit.

I would have stayed all day
never mind the standing or the cold
just to hear that song.

I don’t remember all the words
I wish I could—
I treasured every one.
But the base stays with me
heartbeat of the universe
love, love, love.

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