Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

It’s Alive!

Remember when we were little and we loved cartoons in which EVERYTHING talked with personality and moved? There was THE famous mouse, of course, and then a crazy wabbit and scary apple trees with hands, a wise spider, and even a motherly teapot who loved her son, the teacup, in spite of the fact that he was cracked. We didn’t analyze the credibility involved. To children, a living universe is perfectly reasonable. And then we grew up and stuffed our lovely active universe into storybooks, self-consciously airing our happy fantasies only when we played with the kids.

We used to feel comfortable with the assurance that humankind has absolute dominion over the Earth because we’re the ones with big brains. We made what we accepted as unassailable assumptions. Other creatures didn’t feel pain—not really—and could be killed with impunity.

And then scientists discovered we might have misjudged both ourselves and our environment.

Not only do Jane Goodall’s primates have a complex family life, but lowly plants register pain and fear. Octopuses solve problems and play. Birds construct art. Trees share nutrients with one another and come to the aid of sick friends. Our entire world, including ourselves, is constructed of the same star stuff. Intelligence we thought was reserved primarily for us but secondarily for dogs and occasionally cats, dolphins, or horses is everywhere. Literally everywhere. Scientists tell us animals are brilliant at whatever they need to know within their lives—as we believe we are.

Humans discovered ecology—that various species we thought we should destroy because they were inconvenient actually performed behaviors that were essential for the health of the environment. At first, we wondered that animals and plants could work together so efficiently! Ignoring the advice of certain indigenous peoples in order to make ourselves richer or more comfortable, we disturb balances we never knew existed. Now the earth is warning us that we may be too greedy, too impatient, and too arrogant to continue existing. We’ve poisoned and destroyed until we’ve vanquished pure air and water all over the planet and shoved our climate into rapid transformation.

Recently, I viewed FANTASTIC FUNGI on the Food Revolution Network, a documentary about a massive yet unique lifeform that links animals with plants and may have rescued life on this planet more than once—perhaps by choice. I never ooed or ahed over the fuzz that grows on dead creatures in the forest before, but I should have, apparently. Recent science suggests fungi may be our greatest hope for correcting the damage we’ve done to the planet and may hold promise for protecting us from particular threats to our health. Mushrooms may also open doors to a more profound concept of reality, our own higher intelligence.

Earth isn’t merely a sandbox in which we may do as we please. It’s a community where we’re only one species. Avid gardeners and foragers sometimes realize they’re dealing with moving, thinking life that merely operates at a different speed. Animal lovers will tell you they’ve seen all sorts of creatures react with greater than knee-jerk instinct. We’re shocked to discover that there are more ways of thinking and knowing than what we’ve identified and defined in the past. Those of us who are open to strange possibilities that don’t have to come from outer space have only to spend time with other living organisms—enough time and attention to perceive what we had ignored. Hence the power of “earthing”(connecting physically with the ground through bare feet). We may be ready for new answers to ancient questions, conscious at last of a world that children might recognize.

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