When I go to pray, which is sometimes difficult being so without any god, I think of that time in my life, because the natural world was overwhelming the god that my family insisted was all-powerful and all-knowing. Creation was overwhelming the Creator and it came in the form of undulating prairie grasses.
I was raised in temperate and tropical suburbia. Even in those landscapes, the woods in the backyard, or the palmetto swamp at the end of the road or the canal, drew me to them. They were my expanse. Yet, compared to what existed before the forests were razed and the swamps drained, the landscapes of my childhood were impoverished.
The shifting baseline degrades further. More than half the world now lives in cities, with less ready access to nature than ever before in the history of our species. Biodiversity is an environmental justice issue.
I've chosen to live my adult live in a city. Even here, those childhood experiences guide me. I garden because it connects me to nature, it nourishes me. The beauty I invite is not of my making, but larger, deeper, and older than I can comprehend.
I believe it everyone's right to have that connection for themselves. Not only a right, but necessary. Not only for our own health, but to have some hope for the future health of our planet.
That hope, however impoverished, is what keeps me going.