What astounds me about you is your ability to heal yourself. 30 years after Chernobyl bears and wolves and deer have returned in grand herds. When the wolves came back to Yellowstone the waters shifted toward life. Usually, when I plant a seed it sprouts and grows.
A seed the size of a fleck of pepper can grow into the biggest organism you create. That is a miracle! I’m thinking of the Sequoias and Redwoods which need fire to grow. Which makes me think of the fires that felt like the beginning of the end. Of course, for some, the end has come — I’ll never meet a passenger pigeon, a speaker of thousands of languages.
I often only hear of your magnificent ecosystems when they have disintegrated. Millions of salmon would return, feeding the whole web of life, the keystone species in Earth-honoring cultures wherever they spawned. Now many of the runs are extinct and none thriving. The Indigenous fight to remove dams but too often the steam roller of business as usual fills its pockets instead.
Do you remember the orca who carried her dead child through the ocean for weeks? I know you know rivers grieve too. And they remember.
I often wonder why you made us humans with our demand for rights without responsibility. But you did. You made us. And we can sing and dance and write love letters and plant seeds. If we’re patient we can watch a flower open in the morning and feel our own heart do the same. You have given us mountains blanketed in these flowers, opening their sweet mouths all at once.
I am the salmon trying to swim past the dam.
I am the dam.
I am the flower heart, kissing your feet with pollen.
I am a thunder cloud moments from dropping generations of separation in torrential downpour, praying with all of my being for it to nourish you even a little.
I love you.
I have harmed you.
How could you forgive us?
And yet you welcome me every single breath and tell me I belong, comfort me despite your own destruction, and ask me tenderly to join you in healing.
It is my deep honor dear one. I will with all of the magic you have gifted me.