How exciting to glimpse other lands, other stones! I often thought as a deeply star-gazing child upon whom gravity worked harder than most, such that I dragged myself and later rolled and tumbled across the floor, that I would be the first to sign up to leave this planet, a first colonist.
Yet, as I age, I realize that am deeply attached to the earth, as echoed in Caetano Veloso's love song to Earth, "Terra."
Eu sou um leão de fogo [I am a lion of fire
Sem ti me consumiria without you I would consume myself
A mim mesmo eternamente myself eternally
E de nada valeria and it would matter nothing
Acontecer de eu ser gente that I happen to be a person,
E gente é outra alegria and a person is another joy
Diferente das estrelas... different from the stars...]
This attachment goes beyond humanity. Anthropologist and primatologist Dawn Prince-Hughes, in her memoir Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey through Autism (which I recommend; see a good "non-review" here), writes of her experience of walking and standing, of pulling her body upright, as a painful separation:
In explaining her affinity with the gorillas she studied and worked with and loved, she explained:
What I found I had always had with the gorillas was such vulnerability and ferocity and love. Our similarities were beyond perseveration, a need for space and a space for hiding; we were always drawing inward and exploding outward, sharing laughter out of fear and sharing a ferocious sense of justice, beyond mere caring. Our similarities also went beyond a difficulty dealing with the human race, sensitivities to the world around us and to the stereotyping in the face of the soullessness all around. Our affinity met in being filled with archaic darkness and persisting memories of a time when all things were one. (p. 122)
|Sacred Rock. Machu Picchu, Peru.|
We are earth beings. Now, perhaps always, as New York Times contributor Adam Frank somewhat sadly pointed out in his piece, "Alone in the Void."
Since time immemorial, the earth stones have been watching our growth. Do we not caress them and spill our tears and blood into this great rock? And our waste, too, and our bombs of rage? What better than the earth to serve as witness to all promises, all covenants made between living beings? Who better to know when we have forgotten ourselves?
|Image found here.|
|Cholula with an erupting Popocatepetl. From A Gringo in Rural Mexico|