This past Monday evening my partner, Martina, and I were walking through the fields of my farm property picking hypericum, also known as St. John’s Wort. Each summer I make a medicinal oil from this beautiful yellow flower. It was a beautiful late August early evening in Vermont with a cool breeze and a bright blue sky and golden light.
On our walk, I noticed that the areas I had harvested the week prior were far more abundant with flowers than the areas had I left alone. It was clear that my intervention stimulated more flowers and a longer blooming cycle for the plants.
Then I made one of my usual strange leaps of logic and started thinking about our larger world, and the differences in perspective on our human relationship to nature, the Earth, and each other.
Some of us feel that resources are limitless, and humans can continue to use them because there is not a major risk of them running out. We may believe that the human species is so resourceful that we will come up with new technologies to ramp up productivity and yields.
Then some of us feel that humans are destroying our planet and will deplete all of our natural resources very soon. And so we must minimize our impact on the planet in order to avert catastrophe.
Of course, there are many other perspectives, and we each can find our own. The one I personally strive towards is also someplace in the middle.
What I call a farmer’s perspective is seeing humans as a part of, in partnership with, nature. A view of humans and the earth together creating a productive and abundant balance.
This view of the human as interconnected with and a key element of our complex natural systems is exactly where my brain got to this past Monday on my walk. If we are conscious of the subtle feedback nature gives us with an eye towards health, then humans and the Earth are healthier and more abundant. Not only can we have abundant hypericum and more food available, but we can also help heal our earth so that we leave a more fertile, productive, and beautiful world for our children.
I hope that I can live this way as a small part of the natural system, giving as much as I take (or more). I invite you to join me in this practice and hopefulness. Right now, it takes great courage, humility, and resolve (add in some imagination) to consider our actions as important for the future of the world. Our lives are busy and hectic and sometimes it is difficult to see how our choices impact the earth.
I’m glad that you are thoughtful about what you eat, where it comes from and how it is grown. Because that care and thought have a profound impact on this beautiful planet and our relationship to it.