Have you ever considered the nursemaid tree? It is the tree that fosters the growth of another tree by providing the rich nutrients a young sapling needs in the forest, even after its own growth has ended. Dictionary.com defines nursemaid as “…to take care of or look after protectively.” Sometimes I wonder just who is protecting whom. The nursemaid tree provides the nutrients and a pedestal for new growth, helping a seedling to get that much closer to the sun it needs. The roots of the young tree hug its nursemaid, the simple beauty of it calling to us to remember that without the tree that once was standing, a new tree would not have taken root. The nursemaid tree is alive no longer, yet the essence of it lives on, flourishing, the atoms shared between the two.
The Earth is our nursemaid in a way, though not (yet) a no longer living thing, it provides the nutrients we need, combining its own atoms with those that form our own bodies. It has been around so much longer than us; knows the secrets of history that have gotten us here today. It gives us firm standing so that we may grow, but do we provide the same care to it? Do we take into account that without it, we would cease? Do we understand that the elements in it become elements within us? As chemicals leech the soil, our own bodies are leeched of healthy substances we need to thrive. We use chemicals in everything from food to beauty products, sacrificing health for ease and beauty. We contaminate our rivers and soil with detrimental runoff so that things around us will be beautiful today, without thought to how changed the soil will be next year.
Today is April 22 – Earth Day. It was officially first celebrated in 1970 and has since then grown and spread to communities across the globe. It is a day dedicated to cleanups, recycling, and relishing in nature, thankful for the bounty the Earth has provided and keeping an eye toward maintaining the value of that bounty in years to come. You have the opportunity to be both the beneficiary of a nursemaid and to become one yourself for future generations. What nutrients and strengths will you pass on? How tall will your pedestal grow? How strong will the sapling be that grows from your protective care?
Make the Earth strong = Make yourself strong