Mother Earth’s Day - Jim Cogley Our Lady’s Island

If we listen something new will be born

Mothers Day we usually associate with flowers and cards for our mothers, if they are still with us and some form of remembrance and gratitude towards them if they have passed on. It is to our natural mothers that we owe our very existence so it is only right and proper that we show them respect and appreciation.

However we also have another mother towards whom we have not been so respectful, even though she has always been kind and forbearing towards us. It is to Mother Earth that we also owe our existence, it is from her that we came and it is back to her that our bodies return. Could it be that through this Corona Virus that Mother Earth is at last having her day?

Whenever danger threatens our traditional response is either fight or flight. Perhaps there is also a third way that is rarely considered. That is to stand and listen to the threat and ask what it has to teach us and what it might be saying. This is truly a time for global reflection that calls for deep listening where none of us will have all the answers but we will all find clues, especially in nature.

There is a real sense of Mother Earth already breathing a huge sigh of relief during these days. It’s as if she has begun to breathe again for the first time after decades of global pollution that left her gasping for breath. While the Amazon Rain Forest was allowed to burn, an area the size of Japan was being destroyed by wildfires in Australia. Meanwhile a summit on global warming was being held and ended in disagreement. It was as if the problem was too big for anyone to handle. There were so many vested interests that made the issue too hot for leaders to grasp. It could be argued that right then, when nobody was prepared to hear her anguished cry, Mother nature, having been raped by masculine energy for so long, has finally spoken up for herself and in a most remarkable way. Like a battered wife beaten into submission for years by her husband, she has suddenly stood up for herself, found her voice and said ‘enough’.

For a long time great naturalists like David Attenborough have been saying that nature was in trouble and was on the edge of a precipice. She used the weak to confound the strong and so a particle one four hundredth the width of a human hair has found its way into every part of the world, put it into virtual shutdown and struck terror at the heart of its citizens. That one remarkable masterstroke alone should be enough to provide us with years of reflection.

It seems significant that the place where the virus first started was in industrialized China where citizens were already wearing facemasks because in many cities the levels of pollution had gone out of control. Nasa reported that shortly after the outbreak, China, normally shrouded in smog, became visible from space for the first time in decades. The first case has been traced to a fish market where all sorts of animals were being sold to eat. Nature has been suffering at an alarming rate with widespread destruction of rainforests leading to wide scale flooding. Many species are facing extinction and lots have been wiped out already. Then we have the plasticizing of our seas with these microscopic particles finding their way into the sea creatures. Recent TV footage showed fish and even dolphins in the canals of Venice that were normally so muddy and polluted that little could survive there.

The issue of air travel and the carbon footprint it left behind got little mention at any summit because we all love to travel. Just in a matter of weeks almost all air traffic has been grounded and our escape routes have been closed off. Currently oil prices have dropped through the floor with so little demand worldwide. In the blink of an eye carbon emissions are minimal.

The virus attacks the respiratory system making it difficult to breathe and leaving patients needing oxygen. We could say that Mother Nature has been suffocating for want of oxygen herself. Corona 19 is primarily attacking an older generation that collectively were leaving behind a legacy of pollution and devastation for the younger ones and even thought they were getting away with it.

So what is all this mayhem saying to us? We will need to sit with that question and ask it over and over and still not find all the answers. Like the blind man in the Gospel of today we have been blind to Mother Earth ad her needs for all of our lives and perhaps only now are we beginning to see. It’s amazing how we see the important things more clearly in the darkness than we do in the light. What appeared so urgent may not have been all that important.

We can wait with interest to hear David Attenborough’s comments on this present crisis because in a way he has been a lone voice crying in the wilderness, predicting this crisis for so long, but at world level nobody was listening.

One thing is certain. This virus, like so many things in life, is with us for a reason. It will only last for a season. If we learn the reason we can outlast the season.


Happy Mothers Day to all of you who are mothers, And also on this day we say Happy Mother’s Day to Mother Earth.

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