It started somewhere deep, before I knew the depths of depth itself
passed in a flurry of a moment, before I knew the limits of time.
There were the seeds, and the smiles. Root vegetables with
herbed olive oil. Sprouts coming up. Mom browned by the sun.
Brother naked with the sprinkler.
Dirt was the feeling of being human.
Water mixing with the dirt between our toes,
children making laughter in the trees.
Trees that shot upward like castles with hidden treasures,
sticks on the ground. Sticks as weapons for our toy-games. Sticks to walk with.
Calls cried out over the crunch of leaves. Hanging from branches.
Contests to be the best explorer, that
was the stuff of life.
Somewhere out in nature, by the campfire, I learned
that love is everything. Family laughing while the animals
went about their business, unnoticed, in the trees.
Safety by the fire. Safety in the stars.
Nights spent finding myself in the stars.
Days spent hiking up hillsides and rolling back down,
I learned that home is where your solid ground is –
that the earth is strong enough to hold all of us,
strong enough to contain all of the love and fear –
Like the ocean, the sand. Long hours spent in the water.
Waves were the first thing that really scared me, filled with the kind of raw power
that shakes you and reminds you that you were born to live.
Salt water dried up on my skin, I walked away stronger.
Waves turned to seeds, fertilized by thoughts.
Fading ocean air and sweet eucalyptus on the breeze,
hair whipping and tangled with sand.
Salt and bark and dirt must be threaded into my bones by now.
I wonder at these moments, I wonder at the elements
that have weaved themselves so intricately into my memories
and I wonder if we are strong enough to grow up,
while still remaining childlike and full of awe;
To own our actions, and to treat our planet with respect;
To acknowledge that we owe everything to the ground we walk on;
To happily give back. To reciprocate.
I want the trees to still be standing when I’m too old to stand.
I want there to be places that scare me with their wildness
and places where my future children can go to learn.
I want them to have a land to love, to be able to love
the trees and the dirt and the waves unabashedly.
To be inspired by nature’s grandness,
To be frightened and amazed by their own relative smallness.
I want everyone to love like I’ve loved.
I want us not to be held back by our fear.
Isn't fear so essential to life? To be dwarfed by something incomprehensible,
How love and fear alone could form a basis for my being,
my being in the ocean and learning to swim,
my being in the trees and learning to climb,
something simple. Like feeling my own humanness
with my bare feet in the grass and dirt.
With the same intensity that I love my childhood memories of growing up with nature,
I find myself gripped with a fear that those bits of nature might disappear,
that the ocean will cloud and fill with trash, that the trees will be chopped down and replaced
With man-made devices of carbon capture that offer no branches for climbing
And drop no sticks for playing with;
I fear that our lights will overpower the stars completely,
And that we’ll have nowhere to lose ourselves.
That we’ll have nowhere to find ourselves.
My fears feed fuel to my fire.
I learned from the ocean that fear makes you grow,
reminds you of what’s most important, and offers you a chance to make something.
For now, I offer you something earnest and vulnerable:
Reversing the damage we’ve done to our environment will require all of us, working together.
It will require a childlike boldness, a reclamation of limitless love,
a desire to better ourselves, a willingness to ask questions
and follow our curiosities.
And it starts with one.
Jump with me.
This was a different experience for me. Longest poem I've written, and one of the few that I've actually edited and worked on. So... feedback appreciated! <3