This I Believe

Barbara - Gold River, California
Entered on February 27, 2007
Age Group: 65+
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A moonlight walk under a cloudless, dark desert evening, billions of stars blinking overhead, tiny insects darting through the air, creatures burrowing into the ground, paw prints visible in the white sand, it is in these moments of tranquility that I feel the harmony of being connected to the earth and to all creatures. I believe we are all interrelated, a kindred spirit, that we must respect the earth and all living creatures.

I don’t remember when I first felt the connection. But it was frequently reinforced over the years by my parents. Possibly it was the daily walks in our garden, the excitement of the first radish pushing its way through the ground, the thrill of finding the first bloom on a tomato plant, picking a fresh strawberry and eating it in the field. Or maybe, it was walking in a forest, carefully placing our feet not to step on a fresh budding wild violet. Perhaps, it was watching a newly hatched baby chick hidden in the comfort and safety of a mother’s wing. We raised and ate chickens but we always respected their physical and communal needs. Their short time on earth was one of fulfillment. Fairness to all was central to my young life. We were expected to treat all people with respect. Every individual counted.

The earth was here first. The animals lived on earth before mankind. The earth can exist without mankind. Animals can exist without mankind. Mankind cannot exist without the earth or animals. There are things superior to us.

Natural disasters are often violent. But I believe the life forces of earth; water, vegetation, earth’s elements and natural beauty, surpass its destructive side. Animals and mankind can be vicious. But I believe the compassion and virtues of animals and mankind overshadow their predatory traits. I believe in the inherent integrity of mankind.

As I felt connected with the earth on walks with my parents, I feel that same contentment on walks with my children and grandchildren. Today I am fortunate to share nature walks with school children and adults in the community. Especially rewarding is introducing intercity children to their early encounters with nature.

Mankind was given the ability to plan for the future. Therefore, I believe I am obligated to speak up for our earth and its inhabitants. I must practice and teach respect and love. I am responsible because I believe this. This is what I feel.