If you ask the people in the town I grew up in, what the land was before our neighbourhood was built, they’ll tell you that it used to be a potato farm.
But, for how long was it a potato farm? Before that, what was it? Wasn’t it a vast forest that was home to wildlife and… the Native Americans who used to live there? Yes. But, most history doesn’t go back that far, apparently. That’s in America, where today, they’re celebrating their ‘Independence Day’. The day when the founding fathers of America decided they were tired of taxation without representation. Well… if you ask my mother, and any other mother, she’ll probably chew your ear off about how high her taxes are.
Eight years ago, my husband and I moved to Australia. Right now, we’re in the process of buying a place. Actually, wait. We’re in the process of buying a teeny tiny apartment on some patch of dirt and this teeny tiny apartment is expensive (although relatively cheap for this area). As in, so expensive that my husband has to be away from his family between 40-50 hours a week, just to so that we can afford it. And, I have to scramble to find work from time to time to make ends meet. That’s ‘normal‘, isn’t it?
So, who are we buying this property from again? Like, who decided that it was a good idea that we need to live our lives so disconnected from the earth and nature that we have to work AWAY from the land so that we can live ON the land?!
We’ve chained ourselves to money. Even if you’re not after heaps of money, SOMEBODY still has to live like a slave to the system because SOMEBODY has to be making money so that you can live on this land we call ‘free‘! I think about this often. It’s a bizarre way of existence.
Now, cultures and societies have been taking over each other for millions of years. It’s nothing new. Relatively speaking, I bet the recent European take-overs were comparatively less brutal than some others in the past. But, what we did to the land… and the lifestyle of the people who used to live on this land… is beyond conceivable. We’ve altered the landscape and completely decimated the cultures that used to live here. And now, guess what? If you want to live here (and you have no other option), you have to pay with your time, health and your well-being in order to live here.
The people who used to live here before? We told them to go away and if they want to live here, they have to pay a mortgage that would require them to be away from the families for long hours of the day, to eat crappy food that someone else has caught or grown (because who has time to produce your own food when you’re working 40 hours of daylight a week?), to have someone else raise their children so that they have enough money to live.
What a bunch of jerks we are.
I know there’s not much we can physically do now, that could return the land and the people to how it used to be (unless we all magically revolted). And, there’s also no point in living our lives being bitter about what’s happened. But, the least we can do is talk about it with our children and let them know the history. Let them know that we need to take care of what’s left of the land that’s been stolen. Let them know what’s import and that above all, we need to be happy. Happy with what we have and grateful for life. We don’t need to chase money and things like a dog chases a piece of meat.
The Earth is a living organism. We need to treat her with respect. We need to treat all the living and non-living things on her with respect. And, she will take care of us in return. Think about it, despite all the damage we’ve done, she still takes care of us. A mother’s job is to love unconditionally. I feel like Mother Earth must love us dearly. After all we’ve done to her, we’d all be dead if she didn’t.
Remember that we’re living in this world that has been completely fabricated out of other people’s desire for happiness. It’s just unfortunate that their desire for happiness resulted in corruption and greed and a bizarre way of living…
So, what is it that we’re all running around like lunatics for? Slow down. Be with people. Be nice to people. Be with yourself. Be nice to yourself. Be with nature. Be with your children. Honour the land, the plants and the animals who live on it. Go out in nature and breath some fresh air and give thanks to the land you’re standing on. It never used to be a patch of pavement, or a manicured lawn… You can still ‘exist‘ in today’s society, while being aware of all its craziness.