Have you ever climbed a 14,000 foot mountain? Or a 10-12 thousand foot one, or just gone up the highest hill around? Isn’t it exhilarating to reach the top, to see far in all directions, to breathe in the thinner air and feel the tingling sensation, light headedness and the primal life force? It is like vibrating at a different frequency. Notice how your perspective changes. The big picture. Hawk vision. There seems to be a closer connection to the heavens, to the Divine. It is almost as if you could jump up and fly. An openness to higher knowledge and clearer wisdom with an increased ability or opportunity to raise yourself up, to link the day to day consciousness with the Universal. A time to honor the present, past and future. A time to be still and listen to the silence and allow intuition to come to awareness.
I find it interesting to then look through my binoculars and get a deeper, though narrower, understanding of this vantage point.
On the way down, what comes into your awareness? Are you still thinking of the top…or maybe what you are going to do when you get home…or are you still in a sort of higher consciousness, a higher vibration – noticing your surroundings in the moment, feeling the air on your skin, sensing the fragrance of the breeze, listening to the wind in the trees and the melody of bird songs?
Perhaps you see a little red squirrel or Abert’s squirrel scurrying about, fussing at your presence. This little one may be gathering seeds, nuts or truffles for winter, thinking ahead to the future. They remind me about planning for or honoring my own future – just as the hawk vision did on top. Have I gathered too much? What do I need to let go of that no longer serves me? Trinkets, thoughts, worries, stresses? What do I need to gather? More energy? More compassion? A deeper commitment to my future? I look at the squirrel through binoculars, framed by green pine. I see deeper into its little face. It seems to smile, as it eats a pine cone, turning it with its little hands. Happiness. I feel it in my heart.
I find myself resting under an oak tree. I gather strength and endurance from its hearty, powerful presence.
I take off my shoes and walk mindfully. Every step, every breath, I send my love of the Earth through my feet, and feel the love from the Mother come up through them. With each inhale and exhale, love. Each step… Each step… Each… Step… Love.
At the bottom of the mountain, a wetland ecosystem presents itself. I look at the big picture of it, and how everything relates to each other in balance.
Ducks, herons, geese, kingfishers, and frogs. What do they mean in your own personal ecosystem? So many things to observe, to take in. What are the characteristics that relate to you personally? Frogs call in the rain.
Ducks remind me of fun. Geese mate for life, and they speak their mind. Herons stand patiently for long periods of time looking in one spot, waiting for the perfect moment to catch their meal.
With binoculars, I notice the intricate feather patterns, facial expressions; and the green and violet colors of the swallows against the deep blue sky.
Willows are strong, yet very flexible. I always know I can depend on willows to help me up if I need a hand for balance or strength when crossing a stream. They have never let me down. I trust them.
I like to pretend to be a certain creature for a little while, perhaps a raccoon or a muskrat. I get down on my hands and knees to be at their height, changing my perspective. A whole different world. An alternate experience. I notice a fish, calmly and safely hiding in a shady spot, watching for a caddis fly larvae, or perhaps a mature fly on the water’s surface. A flycatcher soars down and grabs the fly before the fish has a chance.
I lie down on my belly. Perspective changes again. Little bits of algae waving with the current, and tiny multicolored pebbles hopping along on their way downstream. Rainbow colored bubbles appear, that I never would have noticed standing up. All part of the ecosystem.
As I keep walking, I come to a large meadow. I look at the big picture – the grass surrounded by trees. Watching for movement, I see a bunny running, its white tail flashing through the trees; a reminder of fertile creativity; jumping from one thing to another; playfulness and softness.
I sit on the cool, moist grass, and take my magnifying glass out of my backpack. Another whole world to explore. The layers of life that I would ordinarily walk on and ignore greet me with a fascinating clarity. I touch a single blade of grass as I look up at a nearby tree, the sun shining on my face. As I soak up the vitamin D from the sun, the plants are using the sun as a catalyst to split the molecules of atmospheric CO2 into oxygen that it releases into the air that I am breathing; and liquid carbon, which it synthesizes into sugars for its food. Remember photosynthesis from high school biology? Some of these sugars feed the part of the plant above ground, and 20 – 40 percent travel underground, feeding its roots. I am reminded to feed my own roots.
Then this invisible world takes my thoughts underground, where the excess carbon sugars that the tree can’t use, leak out of the roots and into the earth, feeding the soil microbes – the bacteria and fungi that inhabit the rhizosphere. Another whole world! The liquid carbon has now entered the microbial ecosystem. It is no longer in the atmosphere contributing to global warming. It is being useful in the soil. In exchange for their food, these microbes give back to the plant trace minerals and other nutrients that the plant can’t reach by itself.
Remember the truffles that the squirrel was gathering? They are a fleshy underground fungus, and yes, like chocolate to Abert’s squirrels. They need the roots of very old trees to live, an old growth ecosystem.
When you see a single mushroom above ground, its roots – or mycelia – can network as far and wide as 2 acres, transporting nutrients and energy from one type of tree or plant to another. They could not feed each other without this assistance.
When animals eat a blade of grass, the plant – in order to keep the right ratio of above/below ground, will shed some of its roots. These are in turn eaten by worms and nematodes which create more soil while aerating it, which helps the plants breathe and grow – which then take CO2 from the air, releasing O2 into the air, taking carbon underground, etc. Grasslands can take tons of carbon per acre out of the air, when managed properly.
Human practices, such as plowing, tear up the ground and kill these microbes. So do pesticides. Deforestation takes away the earth’s ability to take carbon dioxide out of the air, releasing oxygen and feeding plants and soil microbes. What are we doing internally that metaphor these actions? I am reminded to eat healthily, and to appreciate the internal workings of my bodily systems.
It takes eons to create an inch of soil, and a single season to destroy it. The good news is that there are better ways to farm, better ways to harvest trees. Organic farmers now know how to grow even more food while at the same time returning carbon, fertility and water to the soil. We need to be conscious. We need to be aware of ecosystems. We need to speak up when we see them being destroyed. We need to educate ourselves. Whole species are disappearing as we keep our heads in the sand. The loss of one species can drastically change a whole ecosystem. Everything is related and everything needs everything else.
Each type of ecosystem is a component of the whole planet. From the top of the mountain to subterranean; from oceans to desert – we are all connected. We are all the same energy, just vibrating at different frequencies. We are all one ecosystem. We Are All One.
Each one of us is a whole ecosystem. Body, Mind and Spirit. How do we heal ourselves? How do we take care of ourselves and each other? How do we take care of the planet? Every small thing we do, every choice echoes all over the world.
What do you choose?