Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tread Lightly

Sometimes the smallest things become really big analogies. Yes, I will definitely explain that vague splutter. I arrived home the other day to find my husband sitting outside with our neighbor, having a nice chat over a beverage. My husband sat in a lawn chair and the neighbor enjoyed our porch swing, which is not on a porch but rather in the grass under our shady magnolia tree. Apparently they had been there for about half an hour. Our neighbor is … er … well, he’s a super cool guy and I like him a lot, so I will say he is ... energetic. Maybe twitchy. Excitable? Passionate. Let’s stick with energetic. He kept the swing in motion which is what you do on a porch swing. It’s what I do on the porch swing. It has “swing” right in the name. I looked at the ground beneath him. He had on some pretty serious work boots, and in the short time he sat there, he had chewed away the grass beneath him with the heavy tread on his boots and total restlessness. It has been a very wet summer here and our grass is lush and thick and more tough weeds than actual grass, but he had cleared it to the dirt in no time at all. Dude left, and I pointed it out to my husband, who for some reason had not noticed. Gashes in the Earth. Gouges.

This is of course not a big deal. Sure, it’ll take a few weeks for those spots to cover again, but no harm, no foul. Our yard is not neat, it’s just a fairly respectable yard. But this opened up a pretty big realization on my part. This tiny little nothing-incident made me think of how little most people think of their actions upon this Earth. So many of us tread so heavily and don’t ever even notice. In this case it was literal tread.

How many of these have you stepped on today?
While I go about the business of trying to bring awareness, so many others go about their life on this planet without a thought as to the weight of their tread. This isn’t even as far as carbon footprint, which figures in there, of course, but just the footstep upon this place we call home. Sometimes I get paralyzed in my yard because I realize how many creatures are under my feet at any given time! I admit I am a little uber-aware. (If “uber” can have the value of “a little.”) But I have to be the balance for those who are completely and totally unaware, apparently. I’m surrounded.

It comes down to this: we have a lot of problems going on today. We aren’t going to fix them, they aren’t going to go away, nothing is going to get better until we realize the effect we are having on the planet. We are disconnected, we don’t think, we don’t realize. We gouge and gash and scar and simply walk away, don’t look back. We consume, waste, dispose of, procreate, and we go about it with too little awareness of the consequences. We need to reconnect and we need to do it now. After all, how can we fix the big things if we can’t even notice the little things? I found this great quote but not the author, so I cannot give credit, but it’s a really good one: “The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.”