I have always had a constant growing and endless love for animals and nature. As a child, I ran all throughout the grass and made my second home in the woods. I painted my face with dirt and wore flowers in my hair. I hiked high and low, swam behind waterfall and jumped into swimming holes that could’ve sucked me in if they desired. As I got older, I began to express my love for nature in ways other than making homes for ants from sticks and leaves. I had my own column in a local magazine at the age of eleven about “going green.” Most importantly, my favorite childhood stuffed animal to this day is Gigi the Giraffe, who wears a World Wildlife Fund necklace around her neck. When it is 95ºF in April and 45ºF in May, my mind begins to wander somewhere I never thought it would wander in my lifetime.

The ones who call this place home are gentle. However, we often forget about our mother. Mother earth. Mother nature. The woman who wove our bones together with the dust that lies beneath the footprints we create with every step we take on atop her endless abyss. The woman who fills our mouths with the constellations that float above our homes and protect us when we sleep. We are her children grown from the roots of this earth, and right now, our mother is hurting. But the cries for help she tried to speak to us, we often do not hear. She speaks to us through the wisps of wind from an open window that gently nestle through our hair, then disappear for a while. She speaks to us through the whispers of creatures who lie in homes untouched by the hands of humans: the homes that are only touched by the hands of her. She speaks to us through the steady rhythm of the saltwater along the shoreline that kisses our sandy feet over and over again, or the murky water splashing from the rocks we throw in the nearby rivers. She speaks to us as we tremble across this earth, every single moment of every single day. She is the lavender flicker of light through the trees when the moon is half showing. She is the vibration under our feet, the heartbeat we feel beneath the ground. As she begins to ache, unknowingly, so do we. As we begin to destroy her forests and swallow her oceans, she begins to crumble. As humans, our incurable thirst and unsatisfied hunger causes us to carve wounds into her flesh. As we continue to destroy her spirit with our fingertips, what does she do? She continues to give and give and give. Over and over again. No matter what we do, she always nurtures. She always heals. She always graces us with everything and anything we need. Over and over again. She will always hold us. And this time, we must listen to her. This is our home. This is our mother. But we can’t do this alone.

We must all learn that no living creature in nature is self sustained. Nothing can survive in isolation. Everything depends on the existence of countless other creatures. We thrive in fluid coexistence with one another. However, we are taught to not feel. We are taught to be numb. And what we don’t know is that when you are living in a state of abandoned awareness, it’s easier to be controlled. When we are young, we are raised to believe that vulnerability is a weakness. Thus, sensitivity is also suppressed to only further solidify the chasm of isolation between ourselves and others. So, in return, we lash out. We lash out to others. To feel something. Anything. Every trace of suffering is rooted in the belief that we are better off independent, detached, and separate. Feeling separate from others causes us to feel separate from ourselves. Feeling alone causes us to place our power in the hands of our illusions. Money. Lust. Materialistic desires. Essentially, we are feeding into the systematic enslavement at the cost of our own life. We become swallowed in isolation, losing touch of the eternal truth that lingers within each and every single living being. When you expand, accept, and encompass unity, you can no longer be controlled. Connection is our birthright. It is human nature to feel. It is medicine. It is the cure. Fear begins to descend when we can see our own reflection in the eyes of everything that is. We are everywhere. We are all that is . We are not alone. We are one. And we must help our mother earth.