I believe that the earth reflects my soul and my heart more than anything else ever will. I believe that a blade of grass, with colors twisting in the morning light, is so beautiful that it instantly grips my heart with a passion that will not be quenched by anything else. I believe that the breeze that touches my skin is the greatest gift I’ve ever known; it brings my soul home and awakens the world in a cosmic wonderment that swells my entire being outward, out into a world which seems to devour me whole, but doesn’t. This swelling is so intense that it forces me to complete myself in a single breath, an extension of the air. I breathe in and out, up and down, the absolute of life, everyday existence, but not mundane, not here, not now. The earth is my breath, my breath is my heart, my heart is my life.
I came into loving the earth as a child, walking alone being devoured by tears. My home was behind me in a forest that never hit, that never judged, that never made a child into an adult before her time. I came into a forest that carried my joy and carried my laughter above the pool of tears. I came into a forest that loved me. My dreams awoke and my life was slowly carved out before my feet, carefully and meticulously, grain-by-grain, from the ground upward, until finally the universe was shinning below me and my life was grown out above my head into a halo of enchantment. Not silent, not still anymore, but beautiful and vibrant, bursting with reality out of my lasting desire to heal, to love, to be in the presence of greatness – my love for the earth was solidified here and now, in this time, awakened.
The day the bulldozers came was self-inflicted outward torture. They came and I cried. My life was devastated. I hid from the pounding tyranny that was outside of my windows. Breaking my heart, ripping at its fibers until the silent tearing was so loud and so obscene, I could no longer absorb the deafening silence. So I dismantled myself, memory by memory and piece by piece. Anything reminiscent of a powerful devotion was disbelieved and carried out of the world, lost and shattered from myself.
I came to Colorado State University in 2003 to study that which had bereaved me – the earth, the heart and soul of a delight so grievous in its power that it destroyed the being it created – raw and ultimate in its command over my eternity. I found that, memory by memory and hour by hour, I had destroyed nothing – my love for the earth and her people was still in tact. So I come to you now, opened and burnished with the experience of one who grieves in hope, to take back that which never left my accomplishment; for the earth is my breath, my breath is my heart, and my heart is my life.
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