Sunday, April 26, 2015

Keepers of the earth

The earth is alive with new growth. Trees alive with new leaves. Flowers everywhere you look. Spring is alive and well. Along with the change of seasons comes a birthday in a few months. The twins will be three. So this grandma knows it is time. The time has come for this generation to learn about this beautiful earth.

Once again I am lying in the green grass on the hill overlooking the creek bottom. Mom has hung fresh laundry on the line above me. I close my eyes and listen. A cow moos for her newborn calf. The old bridge creaks with the weight of a tractor and wagon. Birds sing and Mom's laundry flaps in the wind. I smell the grass, the newly laundered clothes, the cows and the sheep as well as fresh turned soil. I smell Mom's pies baking in the kitchen and my dog Whitey lying next to me. I open my eyes and see a blue sky full of drifting clouds. A lion? A clown? An ever-changing mosaic in the sky.

The hill was a place where nature could be observed by merely lying in one spot and joining nature. I was a little one when Dad began teaching me to merely listen. He taught me to observe with my eyes open, so I could dream of nature's wonders with my eyes closed. Now it was my turn.

The little ones put on over-sized, gardening gloves. They couldn't pick up anything if they tried. "I like to feel the earth and get my hands dirty," I said. "Me, too," cried the twins with gloves flying off their small hands. I gave each child a job. They searched for winter debris, showing me each piece as they tossed it into the bucket. A neighbor stopped by offering a small wheelbarrow that was tucked away for many years in the back of his garage. The little ones took turns gathering sticks to toss on the pile. The woman who lived in this house before the kids took it over this spring planted a wide variety of plants I'd never seen. After showing the children the uniqueness of the plants, Nolan was soon showing his parents a hidden bud. They were sponges soaking up nature with a little help from the adults who love them. I knew that my Dad had done the same for me.

We sat in the yard and looked at the clouds. We listened to the robin who was building a nest in the tree by the kitchen window. We picked up rocks and looked at the colors and shapes. We worked together and learned from one another. With each new season, new opportunities arise. With each generation, we pass on appreciation for the earth we reside on for a while.

My father taught me to observe and absorb the world around me. I teach my grandchildren to embrace and protect it. I was taught in school that we had unending natural resources. But that's not true. I have a responsibility to teach my grandchildren about the beautiful, natural gifts around us that we need to preserve. I ask God to give them a world as special as the one I was given. A world full of birds, fresh water, clean skies and soil free of chemicals.

In a few more years, the twins will be old enough to share with me the evening sky. We will talk about stars and a beautiful moon. I will tell them about a little girl who could close her eyes and hear the cows and chickens. We will travel from the past and talk about the future. In the years ahead, I will hand off the knowledge I hope they will pass on. I will give them what I can to help them be keepers of the earth.

1 comment:

Axiesdad said...

Another beautiful post. Your memories stir so many of mine; I just heard the sound of a vehicle rumbling across a wood floored bridge and caught a whiff of he earth turning up behind the plow. Thanks for letting me borrow your time machine.