I believe we are all made of the same “stuff.” This simple, clarifying realization came to me as I walked my dogs on a fall morning speckled yellow with fallen cottonwood leaves. As we walked, I spotted a pretty green stone, and as I bent to pick it up, I realized that I was made of the very same elements that the stone contained. Close up, the stone was even prettier, shot through will little purple veins.
The cool morning air is always a time for good reflection, and I found myself mesmerized by my realization. Although I’d taken all the “right” classes to grasp this concept sooner, this idea was visceral, and changed the way I looked at myself and the people around me. Walking under the ancient cottonwoods the lined the road, I visualized a baby forming in its mother’s womb just as rock forms in the furnace of the mantle of the earth. The baby’s forming body takes what it needs to form correctly from its own little universe, just as each type of rock contains certain minerals.
I have friends, well educated friends I might add, who believe that humans came to earth from another planet. This provides them a sense of superiority over other earthly creatures, and comfort that if we destroy this planet we can colonize another. My little green stone taught me something about that. It doesn’t matter where we came from; we are Earthlings, part of the warp and woof of the fabric of this planet. It is our home, and the only one we are prepared to live in.
Life is full of difficult people (it is likely that I am one of them), but my little stone reminds me that they are made of the same stuff as I. All the little differences we h have assigned ourselves and others, race, gender, IQ, status, social class fade in the face of this great commonality. This understanding informs the way I live, and has made me a more patient, kind, and generous person.
The little green stone sits on my writing desk. It somehow feels warm, even in this new fall morning, when the room is cold and my fingers get a little numb typing. I pick it up occasionally, just to remind me.
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