“Long, blue, spiky-edged shadows crept out across the snow-fields, while a rosy glow, at first scarce discernible, gradually deepened and suffused every mountain-top, flushing the glaciers and the harsh crags above them. This was the alpenglow, to me the most impressive of all the terrestrial manifestations of God. At the touch of this divine light, the mountains seemed to kindle to a rapt, religious consciousness, and stood hushed like devout worshippers waiting to be blessed.”
― John Muir, The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir’s Greatest Adventures
Isn’t this world beautiful? Sometimes the beauty is easy to see. Sometimes the mountains rise up and knock you upside the head with their presence and compel you to acknowledge their magnificence.
Sometimes, it takes a little more time to appreciate. Yesterday, sitting in my back yard, I watched a bee burrow into the ground. I had never seen a bee burrow into the ground before. I leaned over watching her industrious efforts, and after she was gone from sight, I googled “bees that burrow” and read about miner bees. Unlike other bees who live in hives and communities, miner bees are solitary and non-aggressive. They live alone in nests they create in the soil. The female lays her eggs in the tunnel and seals it up with enough pollen for the larvae to feed on for a year. They play a critical role in pollinating and according to Wikipedia, some plants can only be effectively pollinated by a specific kind of miner bee.
I sat back in my chair reflecting how much bigger and more intricate this world is than I can possibly imagine. The next morning, I found the bee dead beside her hole. I don’t know why she died. I do know that I felt sad, and I picked her up and brought her inside. I pulled out my jewelers lens and looked at her up close. I was struck by her eyes and the shiny grid that reflected in them. I admired how the antennae was segmented and how the hair grew in rows on the abdomen. And the wings! Their translucence and elegance belied their functionality. She was truly gorgeous.
Why We Love the Earth
The earth provides for our physical well-being. It provides food, shelter, water, air. Without these things, we cannot live. If we love ourselves, then we must love the earth and take care of her, because what happens to her happens to us.
It also provides for our spiritual well-being. John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club and a naturalist in the late 19th and early 20th century, was influential in preserving some of America’s most stunning natural spaces including Yosemite and Sequoia National Park, and for that service, we should be eternally grateful.
He wrote, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
If we love feeling awe, wonder, and peace at the earth’s beauty, then we must cultivate our connection to nature.
Give your energy to ending pollution, because our bodies need a healthy world.
Give your voice to protect natural places, because our spirit needs a beautiful world.
Give your time to crafting a life that honors the earth, because you love the earth and respect what it gives you every moment you are on it.