A couple of weeks ago, our family inherited three full-grown hens; by choice. Studiously, my wife Dawn read chicken books and blogs to figure out feeding, bedding, and other details. I found a simple but sturdy set of plans for a nice sized chicken run. We took all day Saturday to build the spacious run and fastened it to the coop that came along with the birds. By the time Saturday night came around, we had transferred our new flock into their home. We fell asleep completely exhausted and yet completely contented.
Waking up Easter Sunday, our children leaped from bed early to check on the new brood. One of the chickens was squawking loudly and pacing across the run. Then her pace quickened and her squawking lengthened into cries. There was nervousness among the other birds. We urbanized humans were concerned as well. The chicken we call “Hei Hei” from the Disney Movie Moana darted in and out of the chicken coop. And then it happened just like an Easter miracle: a large Teal-colored egg dropped into the sandy bedding of the coop. We cradled it like a newborn baby and took it inside. Cracking open the shell, we wondered what we would find. Out came a double yolk.
Nature gives continuously. From bees to trees, from worms to ferns, there is ceaseless participation of working units to create healthy soil, fresh air, fertile plants, and nourishing food. Stop for a moment to ponder it all: a bounty of gifts from an unfathomable number of hard working agents here on Earth. They don’t ask for thanks, which makes the whole dance of life even more remarkable. The system isn’t motivated by concepts. It’s fueled by vast networks of intricate reciprocity far too grand to behold. And if we take a moment to fathom it, we humans must be overwhelmed with gratitude for what we are given freely. When we do, we may become. if only for a moment. an awe-struck beneficial partner in the dance. When we don’t, the gifts are at risk of fading away.
On this fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, take time to relish nature with your gratitude. Here are ways you can contribute to the bounty of life:
1) WITNESS WONDER: Take a walk outside and revel in it all. Leave your devices behind. Touch a plant, smell a flower, and hear the birds. Then ask a question: how do I want to express my gratitude? Journal, draw, or talk to a friend about what comes up.
2) CHURN N’ LEARN: It’s okay to be overwhelmed with what’s happening to the planet. If you’re not, you’re not looking hard enough. Continue on your quest to understand what you can do to make a positive impact. Attend a lecture, read a book, check out a nature series online. It’s okay to shed a tear or become enraged. Education reconnects us with what is wild and supercharges our desire to participate.
3) HELPING ACTS: Find a way to assist in nature’s dance. Maybe you start a compost bin to create rich soil in the backyard. Perhaps you plant a few plants that attract pollinators like bees. Consider something larger like putting in a rain barrel to capture and reuse rainwater water from your roof top or installing solar power cells on your house.
Let us live with helpful acts of gratitude that support life. On this and every day, happy Earth Day!