Small Spaces of Green: A Brief Reflection on Literary Tradition & Mother Nature During COVID-19

 

By Sharla

 

Are We Losing Mother Earth?

Many of us are still at home, and I am certain that we’ve been tapping into new hobbies to keep us inspired and quite frankly, motivated throughout our days. It has been a time, so far, to re-enter into our buried interests and dreams - a time for deep reflection together. For some, it has looked like baking or painting. While for others, it may be exercising. For me, it’s been reading -- in particular -- texts about the natural environment. 

As I dive deeper into texts I haven’t really gotten the chance to read or finish, I find myself grappling with a sense of disconnection with “Mother Nature”. You see, I live in an area of Los Angeles, which like much of America, is increasingly urbanized. And during the summer months, I craved the evening breeze that comes through the alleyways of my house and through my backyard trees -- which is where I have been spending a lot of my time these past months. It is here in this small space among the trees, shrubbery, and succulents that I get a glimpse of what Emerson and Thoreau loved and understood about Earth (i.e. the Earth is both Mother and Sister).

 

Writers such as these, are those who knew the value of stewarding the environment - not just in their words, but actions. It is no wonder than what we think is what we are most likely to do. If we see sustainability in all its nuances, we might get better, and I hope, smarter of how we spend our time, of what we consume, and how we cultivate. I think this is a hope that all of us share, and that Mary Oliver -- another beloved poet whose timeless insight is much needed for a time such as this --  teaches us in the beginning of her poem, “Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way”:

 

If you’re John Muir you want trees to 

live among. If you’re Emily, a garden

will do. 

Try to find the right place for yourself. 

If you can’t find it, at least dream of it… 

 

 

Most of us don’t live among trees or gardens, but we can still relish in the little acts we can do as creative agents of sustainable practice. It may begin as simply as looking up at the sky, or consuming less water -- but whatever it is, I invite you to pay attention and say yes to stillness, to authenticity, to connection. Let’s say yes to making the rest of 2020 about what is still possible to do, and let’s begin by getting back in touch with Mother Nature.

Leave a comment