Tonight. After dark.
Lay on your back in the grass.
Open your eyes.
Crickets will sing and maybe, if you’re lucky, an owl will slice your heart open with its call.
Look the moon straight in the eye and make a promise. Promise to learn one new thing about this wild world you inhabit.
Discover the name of the first star you see next to the moon. Recognize its distance. Marvel. In all the dark there exists multiple tiny points of light. Every night. Imagine all the light we miss when we’re not paying attention.
Can you discover the species of owl that lives in the pine. What does it eat? Where does it winter? How will it find water if there’s no rain tomorrow? How do you describe its song?
Write this down. Date it. Do this again tomorrow. And again.
We will want a record of this. For our children. Our grandchildren and their children.
We will want them to know what lived with us one night when we paused to notice a miracle of balance and diversity, of red tailed hawks, of free-tailed bats, of carpenter worm moths at twilight.
Summer will fall to autumn.
This season too will rattle its saber with unprecedented flood and fire. It will tell us that our earth is changing.
If your house flooded or burned, what would you grab as you fled?
If your earth slowly crumbled and flooded and burned away, what would you try to save?
Watch how slowly the moon moves.
See how rocks or silver-toned leaves shimmer in its light.
Open your palms and see how you too shimmer in moonlight.
Remember the scene from Apollo 13, the scene where Tom Hanks, playing astronaut Jim Lovell, sits in his backyard. He holds up his right thumb against the night sky. His thumb completely blots out the moon.
We humans get in our own way of wonder. Yet this very wonder, at the human scale, is that which can touch us most frequently, most deeply.
When you’re ready, return inside. Spread the moon’s gentle touch to those your hand touch. Tonight. Tomorrow. Learn the wild ways of those you love.
With grass in her hair,
p.s. I came across an interesting call for submissions today. The Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment is looking for “new or renewed forms our writing can take.” If your work reads like “the broken-hearted hallelujah, the witness, the narrative of the moral imagination, the radical imaginary, the indictment or the apologia” you might consider joining your voice with others in essay, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or academic article. Deadline is Sept. 30. For more information, read the entire To Write as if the Planet Were Dying: A Call To Writers.