“There’s nothing out there! It’s a barren landscape. Why would you want to go there? Why should we preserve that useless place?”
Nothing out there, eh? Well, if that’s Nothing, it’s pretty spectacular. It’s vast, for one thing. Stretching in all directions, as far as the eye can see and further. And it’s limited, encased in a single droplet from a juniper berry, sweet and pungent in my mouth, yet powerful enough to stimulate a rush from my salivary glands and wet my parched throat. You could live on Nothing. Many have, and left their artwork in symbols on the rocks. Yes, they had time for Art in ‘subsistence living’. Do you have time for Art in your life? It is barren of some things. There are no strip malls. There are no straight lines. There is a meandering curve of vegetation down there. It’s a lot more narrow than it used to be. The air is warming. The climate is changing. Fecundity is fighting the curse that foists barrenness upon it. The energy of life will not give up easily. And that’s why I want to go there. To learn. We must preserve it in order to let it teach us. We are ignorant. We ignore the wilderness and call it Nothing. There is a story there. A Myth. One day we may get wise.
The Bardo Group, which mercifully counts me as a contributing writer and core team member, has invited its visitors to share Valentine’s Day posts in celebration of our love for this awe-inspiring planet. Planet Love has been on my mind for a week now; I’ve scribbled phrases and ideas on scraps of paper at work and engaged in ardent discussions with Steve about it, but until now I haven’t had time to sit down and write. “You don’t have time for the planet!” Steve jokes.
Au contraire. I AM the planet.
I have been thinking about the nature of my Planet Love. It starts with the obvious. Duh! I depend on the planet. I need it desperately – the water, the air, the energy from edible sunshine. Without it, I would die! My survival depends on this environment that birthed me and sustains me every breathing minute. I am an infant, perhaps a parasite, a needy lover hopelessly driven by biology into the thrall of her. She is my EVERYTHING!
But my ego shrinks from this debasing posture. I would much rather be the poetic admirer, the worshipful devotee who praises her and charms her, caressing her with ardent words of love. I would describe her in vivid, pleasurable detail. My senses delight in her. I rub against her textures: sand beneath my feet, bark under my fingertips, meadow grass against my back. I inhale her fragrance: sea air and pine and sulfurous volcano. I taste her bounty and drink in her landscapes, satisfied and still wanting more. I strain toward the whisper of her winds and dance to the rhythm of her tides. Her specific excitements are too numerous and various to be composed. She is more vast than my words. The vaulted roof of the cosmos lifts away, and I am exposed.
Suddenly, I realize that the cosmos is not only endless, it is edgeless. There is no ‘It’ and no ‘Not It’. It is integrated. And here I am. Not ‘I’, not ‘It’. WE. We are. The planet, the cosmos, and me – together. We are. What kind of love is this, without borders? Without egos? Is this perfect love? Perfect love casts out fear. I am not afraid, not of death, not of survival. But I know suffering. We suffer. We suffer desecration. Everywhere the planet is fouled, I am wounded. I am sad. I feel a lover’s pain. I stand with her in this pain and take my vows. We are one. We must be at one. At-one. Atone. Heal. Integrate. Become whole. Forgive my ignorance. Forgive my ego. Forgive my parasitic need. I will love without borders. My life, my time, my energy is cosmos – and I will remember that.