We are having a small amount of concrete laid today between our already asphalted driveway and our new shed. I was watching the concrete being poured and remarking how wonderful it is that they can take a sloppy, lumpy mess and turn it into a smooth flat surface for driving on.
This got me to thinking about a couple of things. One was how we all have something that we can do remarkably.
When we start taking notice of the world around us, we begin to appreciate everyone on the planet, and not just the humans. Every person has a role that can be appreciated and honoured, when we start taking notice.
Sometimes we take other people for granted, but when we start considering what life would be like without them, we can start to have a new appreciation for them. Often, appreciation is possible when we imagine ourselves trying to achieve what others have achieved.
I certainly couldn’t achieve the smooth finish on the concrete that these men have achieved. I have a great appreciation for the driver of the bus I caught yesterday – the way he could judge the small distances between his huge vehicle and other fixed and moving objects. (I have enough trouble keeping my small car in the space it’s supposed to be in.) Have you ever thought about the people who clean the public toilets, and how great a job they do?
You, too, have special skills and provide a service in this world, whether you recognise it or not. Why not take the time today to appreciate all that you do every day?
Why not take the time today to appreciate every person you come in contact with, whether it be the lady at the checkout at the supermarket, or the one you pay at the service station? Can you also take the time to appreciate all those who have contributed to your life today – from the farmer who grew the food you ate for breakfast, to the man keeping your electricity running and the one making sure you receive your water?
Perhaps we could even start appreciating our politicians. Perhaps if we appreciated the work they do, we may just get someone in the job who we appreciate being there.
The other thing that our concrete pour made me think about was Mother Earth.
I had read somewhere that Mother Earth doesn’t like concrete. I can’t remember why. I started thinking about whether we are doing her a disservice by putting our little bit of concrete down.
And then I remembered the ancient cultures who built their buildings to last for centuries, but which still end up buried in the ground needing to be excavated by archaeologists in order to be viewed. Even reasonably modern buildings are soon overtaken by creepers, one day perhaps disappearing beneath a forest floor.
This reminded me of our impermanence here on this ancient planet, first as individuals but also as a species.
Our asphalt driveway needs regular recoating; otherwise it would soon be broken up by the force of the rain, the tree roots, the encroaching grass, and the general shifting of the earth’s surface. Whilst concrete is quite a bit stronger than asphalt, I imagine that, left to the devices of our planet, it, too, might one day disappear in a pile of rubble.
Mother Earth has the means at her disposal to demolish all of our structures and wash them into the sea.
Most indigenous peoples worked in harmony with our changing planet. They were often nomadic, honouring the features of the Earth such as caves and rocks. They honoured the animals and plants which dwelt on the planet, and respected the water courses, understanding that their grandchildren’s future depended on all these things.
After we have started to appreciate all of the humans who have contributed to our life on Earth, it is time to appreciate all of the creatures, including the trees and Mother Earth.
When we start to think about it, we understand that we cannot survive without the great biodiversity which our creator has provided on our planet, from the trees who create our oxygen and extract the water from the Earth, to the cockroaches and microbes who clean up after us.
And without our mother the Earth, we could not have a physical body, created from her energy and that of our Sun.
Yet, we continue to disregard the interests of our planet and all of her beings, as we fell her trees, spread pesticides everywhere, and annihilate the biodiversity which is so crucial to our being.
Perhaps after we have begun appreciating other humans, and then other creatures, we might finally stop killing them all and begin to take action to preserve our planet and all who dwell on her.
For, lest we forget, we dwell on her, too.