BEING LIKE AN ECOSYSTEM
Today I have been sitting out under the shade of a young oak tree. He has been in our garden since we moved here 8 years ago and we have grown up together.
In recent years, due to all the travel with my work, I had rarely found the time to come and hang out with this incredible being. Since COVID and lockdown everything has changed – in this case for the better.
As I relaxed in the morning sun and ate my cereal, I gazed up through his branches and noticed the lichens growing up his trunk, the vast array of insects and bees flying through his leaves (I wondered if they tickled him like they tickle me) and the dainty peck marks of the Greater Spotted Woodpecker that I had seen clinging to a branch just a day earlier.
I finished my breakfast and lay back in the grass, luxuriating in the free time between Zoom calls, able to be outside and enjoy a break with my friend.
Or perhaps friend(s) would have been more appropriate.
As I lay at the base of this oak being, ants started to crawl across my skin. I resisted the urge to blow them away. A huge bumble bee careered towards my head and only just managed to avoid getting stuck in my hair as she buzzed cumbersomely past. Laughing, I next noticed the daisies caressing my knee, and a money spider adventuring his way across my calf.
Both my oak friend and I are living ecosystems. We are both playing host to a multitude of life in this one eternal moment, even more so when you include the colonies of bacteria, fungi (in the tree’s case) and cellular existences that live their days inside and upon our physical bodies. Oak and I share the the same air. And we are both rooted in the soil of our beautiful planet which is, itself, an even richer and vaster ecosystem of life-giving beings.
Importantly, we love each other deeply and love all the beings that share our space too.
In quiet moments such as these, each of us can get a sense that our human stories of separateness and isolation are quite ridiculous when set against the wide-ranging narrative of biological, soulful life on earth. We simply cannot ever be alone, even if we wished to be ! We are each a vast and complex ecosystem of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life. Each thought, feeling and action we make carries a consciousness of its own, yet each is intimately linked to the wider consciousness of ‘me’, ‘we’ and all life in our Universe.
My molecules are connected. Connected to the molecules of the spider, the ant, the daisies and my dear friend the oak tree. Happily so, for I would miss any one of them should they be absent from my ecosystem awareness for any length of time.
What’s in your ecosystem?
When was the last time you stopped to pay attention?
How often do you demonstrate your love for it?
The same is true for this human ecosystem in which we exist. Our human ‘biome’ is equally as important and often equally easy to feel separate and distanced from – especially when we are angry or hurt by one of the characters in our field.
Yet our molecules are all equally connected.
We breathe the same air and touch the same earth.
We love each other and support each other and need to be reminded of this.
Love is desperately in need of restorying (as my friend Paul Clarke reminded me later this same day). So why not take some time every day to sit, to appreciate, to BE the ecosystem of love and support that you inherently are?
Perhaps your world / the whole world will change.