Don’t Mess with Mother Nature

personal visual journal page (2018)

What power has played with the vulnerabilities of humankind, invading bodies and points of view across the globe, more than COVID-19 and variants thereof? Once upon a time, near the Ides of March in 2020, when the world was closing its shutters and slamming its doors against the unknown, sign businesses boomed with banner production.

CLOSED for COVID. / Social Distance, Please! / MASKS REQUIRED.

I made a sign of my own and planted it in my garden:

Don’t Mess with Mother Nature!

I considered posting my brazen perspective on Instagram, but my better angels told me that I didn’t need to jump that far into the burgeoning philosophical fray.

I still believe what I wrote, now more than ever. The arrogance of humankind has proven me right. Not only have a good number of citizens who live in the so-called Greatest Nation on Earth been unwilling to shrink their egos small enough to put their upturned noses behind a mask, but even with virus-related deaths now exceeding one million in this country, there still exists a significant component of vocal deniers who appear not to acknowledge the most vulnerable, the infirmed and immuno-compromised (both of whom many families contain, including my own).

What I understand now, more clearly than I did when I made my Mother Nature sign almost two years ago, is that millions of humans have disassociated themselves from the rest of creation and are in armor so hammered with Manifest Destiny and pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstrap-itis that they are woefully in service to the greatest evil threatening our entire globe today, and that is the denial that everything is connected.

The virus didn’t come from outer space. When did the cluelessness about symbiosis appear? With Cain and Abel? With the capitalists, oligarchs, and corporates who blasted open the doors of profiteering, greed, and exploitation somewhere back there on the Silk Road? Fast forward to the exponential growth model which infected societies of all stripes down to their everyday, gotta-have-it consumers.

Consider the word consumer. One who consumes. Too much consuming is gobbling up the resources of Mother Earth with an absence of compassion for future generations. Is it too late to recalibrate the global definition of progress? Until our species is willing to unite to Do No Harm, Mother Nature will keep alarming us with a proliferation of pandemic wake-up calls.

“When are you going to learn,” our planetary parent begs us, “to show some respect!”

Big Sur horizon, view from New Camaldoli Hermitage personal retreat private garden (2017)

“The earth is at the same time mother, she is the mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all.”

Gabriele Uhlein, Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company, 1983), 58.



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