Mindfully Made: Life Touches Life

During my teaching career, I was blessed to teach in a school that valued the natural world. We spent as much time as possible immersed in nature, encouraging young learners to experience what it means to be honorable stewards of the Earth. We planted gardens and researched ecosystems. We studied the relationship between land and animals, including the ways humans could sustain or alter environments. We explored the reciprocity between what the Earth gives and ways we can give back. 

When the local curriculum changed and more emphasis was placed on core academics, I continued to build thematic learning around the natural world. It seemed essential to integrate math, literacy, social learning, and the arts into themes centered on natural environments. It was easy to approach teaching and learning in this way. Everything was connected. Everything is connected. 

I remember the year that the local legislature mandated the recitation of the pledge of allegiance within each school and classroom. My school devoted time to discussing the history of the national pledge and the meaning behind the words— a pledge being a promise, allegiance meaning loyalty, devotion.  We wanted kids to understand what they were pledging and to also understand their choice in participating. Organically, kids began writing their own pledges to honor the things they experienced as sacred and meaningful. Some kids wrote pledges to aspects of nature, like plant life and ocean life and specific animals. Some wrote pledges to being kind or friendship. All the pledges reflected the parts of life that resonated with young people.

There was a span of time when we recited multiple pledges each morning including the original and also one to Mother Earth. Since that time, organizations have emerged offering their own curriculum and pledges to the Earth. But I love that I was a part of a community of learners that supported children with generating their own pledges, their language of support for the things that mattered to them. I love that they understood that "liberty and justice for all" included all living beings, plants and animals, sky and land, oceans and rivers. I love that they understood the way all life touches life.

Since leaving that career, I have had the luxury of devoting my time and attention to the natural world. Every day I am blessed by the gifts of this Earth we call home. Every day I stand in awe of the way my life is touched by all life. Everything I create comes from this awareness and from moments when I have learned something from being in a relationship with the natural world.

With so much at risk in the current political climate, I felt called to offer something on behalf of the Earth that I love. I sat down to create something to reflect my devotion and what emerged was a visual expression of my Pledge to Mother Earth.

Like a tree, the hand is rooted in the supportive ground and rises up to offer refuge and support. The sun is a compass offering light and warmth in all directions. Quail offers community support while Dragonfly brings ancient wisdom. Backlit by the moon, she invites depth of awareness amidst dark times and inspires transformative change. Snail bridges land and sea. Her spiral shell is an invitation to live our lives in widening circles, growing out from our center and expanding our reach. Her slow pace a reminder to move mindfully and savor each moment. These intersections of life...each touched by the other.

Life Touches Life is my pledge to Mother Earth. It is my visual pledge to reciprocity— to defend, protect, care for and honor the gifts natural world. It is one way that I am spreading the message that I value the way Life Touches Life.

I have a limited edition series of signed and numbered giclee prints available in size 11 X 14 inches.