Having a love of plants and flowers, I enjoyed a recent article in The New York Times. To summarize the article briefly, as I recall, a family decided to count the myriad species in their backyard and home. The result was astounding. So many types of insects, birds, flowers, greenery were observed and evidenced in miniscule plot of their piece of planet earth.
I know I look in awe at the beauty of many spring flowering trees and plants so visible now: forsythia, cherry blossoms, magnolias, peonies (so wondrous at Rockefeller Preserve now) Several years ago I visited the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Gardens and was stunned by the number of kinds of this one plant with the nomenclature orchid.
Now too we observe mountains of tall, brown sticks being transformed to new lush green hills. Nurseries abound with annuals and perennials. I sat in the backyard on the grass the other day and watched a light green inch worm “travel” through the blades.
Some mornings I walk out the door to work and marvel at the clouds, the beauty of blue sky, the contortions of the trees. My head spins observing God’s grandeur. Do we notice the wonders of nature that surrounds us, no matter what the season? Attentiveness is the natural prayer of the soul (Malebranche). All of creation is a gift given freely to us.
So, you’re saying, what does this have to do with compassion? We are called to be compassionate stewards of creation. We have stridden our planet earth as the Colossus of Rhodes, destroying it. We have not been conscious of our being an integral part of all creation but rather thought ourselves its master, and a destructive master at that.
Thomas Berry, writer and lecturer, is one of a new breed of eco-theologians. “Dr. Berry was the earliest and most important voice to describe the profound importance of the disconnection between humans and the natural world, and what that could mean for future of our species,” said Richard Louv recently. Berry has written, “If we were truly moved by the beauty of the world about us, we would honor the earth in a profound way. We would understand immediately and turn away with a certain horror from all those activities that violate the integrity of the planet.”
Let us see with gratitude and act and take action with compassion for home, planet earth.
Aside: Let us honor mothers, not just in a single hyped-up consumer holiday, but each day.