Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ghandi and bees: how to save the earth

The bees are making paths only they can see in my mandarin tree. Flower to flower, gathering pollen on their legs like old ladies carrying shopping bags. They dance in the sun to sound only they can hear, move back and forth in steps older than time; they are ancient.

I watch from my laundry room, washing my hands in the sink.

I think of the age of bees. The age of gathering pollen and passing pollen and making the flowers bloom and the act of bringing life, and I know that I don't understand it all. But it is beautiful.

I watch the bees and think of the planet, dying. Dying at our hands, dying if we do nothing. The science reports everywhere agree; news and pictures call chaos from all their corners. And I wash my hands in the sink and feel outraged and heartbroken because 7 billion of us aren't marching in the streets. We aren't all singing the land and sea back to health, tending, caring, mending. We aren't saving the earth together, standing with our hands outstretched.

I think of Ghandi. I think of civil disobedience. I think of the power of a collective Us. What if we all stopped? Refused to do anything else until the planet was safe?

What if we lay down in front of every choice that demeaned and starved and spoiled the earth and said, No More Please.

Would we ever be so brave?

Civil disobedience—Ghandi practiced it. Rosa Parks too. The guy in Tianamen Square. All it takes is a steadfast and polite refusal to accept what is, a refusal to accept what other people say cannot be changed. What if we practiced that kind of refusal without retribution, anger, vitriol? What if we said No without shouting, without fists in the air or punches thrown? What if we all said No, repeatedly, spoke the type of No where people might actually listen.

Could we do that?

Could we lie down together, a sea of us, side by side, tips of fingers touching? Walk the road together, miles of us, shoulder to shoulder, in peace? Speak together, our voices one long, collective song? Sit down in simple, massive barricades and refuse point blank to accept the kind of destruction that makes us weep, the kind that could leave us with no planet left to protect?

Could we be so united?

Could we be so calm?

Could we be so wise?

I see, so clearly, the path we could follow. The song we could all hear, the one we could all move our feet to, the steps we could take. All of us, dancing or still. All of us making a difference. It is far, far simpler than we choose to believe.


  1. I feel your pain Helena, so many people who really don't seem to care and value the material world so much more than the natural world. It feels so much that our little efforts (even when pieced together with lots of other little efforts) just won't be enough. And that is unbelievably sad.
    Hugs to you
    Lou xx

    1. Thank you for your hugs and for your words, Lou! I wrote this to try and lift hope out of sorrow—for me as much as anyone—in the face of all the dark stories coming out. It filled me with a sense of purpose to imagine us marching, standing, calling out—calling out for positive, peaceful action. I feel like I've lit a fire under myself, and now I'm blazing it about for others to see, all the others who are working for change and all the others who don't know how but want to, and for the others who might need a nudge. I want to speak and do more, join with others. I want to be active when I feel hopeless, and be lit within when I feel the most bleak.

      As for the sadness you are feeling—this is a positive beam of light being sent from me to you. If I was closer I'd give you a big hug. And maybe that would help, just a little? Maybe it helps to know both of us are united in this moment and other times, wanting so much for things to change. I hope it helps, my friend. I know it helps me, to see you here.

  2. I am in your peaceful army!--there are many but they don't often make it into the news reports. There are many movements, 100's, and some of them are uniting. It may not be 7 million, but it's growing, and that's the hope I grab onto that helps me stand stronger and louder. Thank you for sharing your beautiful voice!
    May I share a link to this blog post for my facebook friends, some of whom need to hear this message a few more times before they look up from their coffee?

    1. How lovely to have you here, Jackie! I love that you and I are standing side by side—how nice to think of us sending out hope and kindness together. That makes me smile.

      And yes, of course you can share my words! That would be wonderful. Yes, to the growing band of us, singing out.

  3. Helena, I loved this the first time I read it, and I'm loving it again. I feel the sadness, yes, but I feel the hope, the fingertips touching. The idea that our tiny little flickering actions and choices can join a larger movement of light. I'm grateful to know you through this space and to feel the inspiration in your words.


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.