Earth Day, 2020. What a wonderful day to recognize our gracious master and host. Nature embodies our physical home, our spiritual connectedness, our history, our relevance, and our identity.
We are pets of hers, the Earth. She feeds us. We sleep on her floor. But for her, as far as I know, we would not exist. She gives us everything. And also like pets, we don’t always understand her commands, speak her language…We’re sort of lazy, messy, reckless and though loving, a tad ungrateful.
Personally, I have too many masters. I want just one. I want to serve one great being totally – and I choose Earth. She always gives me time, space, comfort, sustenance, joy, and resistance. She’s sexy, she’s powerful, she’s a creative genius, she’s beautiful, she’s funny, and I worship her. I’ve always been in love with our planet. Whenever I go outside I hear God, I speak with Great Spirit, I feel big, warm Goddess pushing me along. I pray. I rejoice in whatever nature is around me at the time, and there is rarely enough. I want the naked Earth.
I have always been an environmental and living creature activist. When I was eight, I started a club to pick up the litter in Central Park with my friend Liza. We filled our black garbage bags every Saturday, yet we didn’t know what to do with the trash. Today, I know what to do thanks to many smart humans. I compost, meticulously recycle and reuse, and enjoy the labor of love that is expected of me in Brooklyn. I model for my children – which I know works because last night I watched my son chase an errant (recycled) paper towel into the roiling, cold as a witches tit, bay to retrieve it. I realized watching him that we must all step up our efforts together.
And we have showed that we can! Look at our togetherness in fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are compassionate as a whole and we are kind. Humans can be amazing pets. And for all of our celebrated differences, we can behave as a pack. For good.
Thank God, Goddess, and Great Spirit that Greta Thunberg was born. Thinking of her, I sing Handel’s Messiah, “For unto us a child is gi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ven!” because if you believe in the end of days (I don’t, but I can see we are headed for perilous consequences), you can’t miss that she would be the quiet, saintly person we are supposed to heed. And what better time to shift our values, it’s happening to us, for us, because of the coronavirus. Prescient, persistent Greta Thunberg. Others may have paved the way for her, but she doesn’t need a road. She is the way.
My house group watched “Buyer & Cellar” this weekend, benefitting Broadway Cares. It was wonderful, and from 4 years old to 65, we all got from it. There was a line about living in the interminable present, after the excitement, the flurry of a busy, important life. How one can sink into the deep, unbearable present when there is no way to make things happen for yourself. It struck me, because I’m an artist living in the long pauses of life, working on things that for the most part won’t be shared, that I’m especially tolerant of being undistracted. This past month, though, I’ve grown into another kind of person; what ever kind of person this group needs me to be. All humans are adapting and changing in amazing ways right now. We are doing this together, even as we are separated.
I’m so sad about the people who have died in this crisis, for all of us, because if humans can keep rising in consciousness, and I believe we can, then the beloved ones who have gone wherever souls go, can’t enjoy the evolution of us. Maybe they are angels now, maybe, we all have to be whatever this “group” needs us to be.
Okay, so humans aren’t pets, but we aren’t masters either. As we are confined to one place on Earth perhaps the question, “what is my place?” is relevant. Have I over-stepped my place? Ever found my place? Am I in the right place, in relation to what I can do, give, receive, inspire, while I’m alive?
As a human pack, I feel we have ignored the need to find a balance between our place on Earth, and the home, life, and sustenance she has graciously given us. It’s obvious, she doesn’t need us. How do we appeal to the Earth, ingratiate ourselves? That’s what Indigenous people have always done. It is this new version of human that we have become, not the Earth, that wiped out most Indigenous peoples. We can easily wipe ourselves out, too.
I wrote and released a song in 2010 called “The Land, The Sea, and The Sky” which says all of this better, and I’m grateful I get to share it with you again today in this video. Why should the Earth love us? We are effervescent, creative, capable of dramatic, heroic shifts like saving each other, saving ourselves, and saving our planet from ourselves… and we’re vulnerable. We need her.
Your faithful songwriter, Sophie B. Hawkins