This Earth Exchange was very emotional for me, in one of those unexpected moments of grief welling up. The place was really not so very wounded. I chose it because it was on my land and I could do it without needing to coordinate anything. I have been involved recently in handling affairs related to my mother’s death and didn’t find the time or energy to create a community event, but did want to do this with you all.
I went to an old dump site on my land. In truth, there is not much toxic there after all these years of water flowing through it, if there ever was; and mostly what is there is covered over by the gentling hand of fallen leaves.
There were some unsightly bright pieces of plastic and a lot of broken glass that an unwary person or animal could step on and get hurt although the chances of that aren’t high at the moment.
Yet, as I came into this area, with my cat as my companion, I felt overwhelmed with a deep grief unlike any I have ever felt at any Earth Exchange. Without the usual protection against discouragement and loss, I felt what I know I often repress—that unmitigated sense of sorrow for what we have done and continue to do to this Earth, as well as overwhelm at what it might take to heal. Yet in this unguarded moment, I was able to let the emotions pour out, feeling it all and the sense of being alone.
And as we know happens when grief is acknowledged and expressed, I soon began to notice that I wasn’t alone, either spiritually or physically and also that the situation in this little dump wasn’t so immensely overwhelming at all! I found a fern growing in one of the jars, a little naturally occurring terrarium, and another maidenhair fern growing next to it. I picked up the ugly pieces of plastic, gathered 2 bags of rusty cans for recycling and decided to let the rest become minerals for the Earth again. I also gathered 2 bags of glass, and resolved to clean more of that glass away over time.
Thank you for this amazing experience of integrating Solastalgia on a level I have not allowed in before. This little piece of land, an old dump site filled with refuse, became a sacred spot more my support in healing than I really was to it.