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Earth As Friend, Care As Collective, Struggle As Compassion

June 23, 2011
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A beautiful catch-up conversation with my friend Junot has got me viewing photos of this week’s camping trip with new eyes.

As we reconceptualize our ideas of care and stress relief, striving to integrate our healing and fighting work, I feel challenged to question my relationship to this restorative vacation in the redwood forest.  Not “question” like browbeat myself about it, but firmly and lovingly investigate my own views.

Do I see these hikes as a kind of spiritual refueling?  Do I see them as material for photographs?  Do I view the trees and streams and skies as teachers, as providers of wisdom, about impermanence, identity, and borders?  Do I see myself as responsible to these paths?  These non-wildernesses?  Are we in dialogue, or am I looking for an uncomplicated, friendly, comfortable, and shallow “mothering”? Is the earth a being with rights?  Is the earth a being beyond rights?

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The earth provides for me, as Maia recently reminded me and others. How can I repay this nourishment? In our collective, developing struggles toward a classless society, can we cultivate deeper friendships with the earth? Can we create conditions that will systematically, especially after the final throes of our cancerous capitalism, encourage generosity and lovingkindness toward all beings, all environments?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2011 11:02 pm

    The story of the tree that you are standing in, the one that is burned halfway up and is still living, is a wonderful lesson for all of us. I wonder how many of us will listen.

  2. June 24, 2011 5:55 am

    Katie, just LOVE these photos and your words here.

    I’m not sure exactly how I reminded you that the earth provides for us, but I’m glad for that reminder from you here! Maybe it was this quote from Vandana Shiva that I recently came across and have been sharing in several places:

    “You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to
    remember that the planet is carrying you.”
    ~Vandana Shiva

    xox

  3. June 24, 2011 9:35 am

    Yes, Maia, that was it exactly! Thank you for passing that on. Biggest of hugs, and glad for the healing of your foot!

    Hi Adam, thanks for stopping by. I like your interpretation of the enduring tree; I’m also inspired by the idea of forest fires as rejuvenating in general, to the forest / ecosystem as a whole. Thank you, too, for your beautiful contemplative photography! I’m trying to learn more about that (checked the book by Karr and Wood out from the library, but never got around to reading it), and I was surprised to learn, from poking around on your site, that Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was one of its first innovators! Neat-o. Anyway, hope you’re well; surviving fires.

  4. Adam permalink
    June 24, 2011 9:39 am

    Thank you very much!

    The Practice of Contemplative Photography is an amazing book that goes way beyond photography. Anyone attempting to break free of the conventional ways in which they view the world needs to read that book.

    Cheers.

  5. June 24, 2011 4:56 pm

    great photos and post!

    thank you for sharing…

  6. JOMO permalink
    June 24, 2011 10:38 pm

    TREES! FRESH AIR! HIKING!
    it is truly summer!

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