When the Earth Slept

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Once upon a time the Earth got VERY sick. Her temperature rose and rose and rose until it erupted into a slew of wildfires that ravaged the land. She shook with chills, causing massive earthquakes and every time she sneezed, torrential winds kicked up. The people called them tornadoes and hurricanes. She cried because she felt so awful and her tears created floods that washed over the soil.  Try as she might, the Earth could not get her sickness to go away. There was simply too much that she had to do to support all of the living organisms walking along her surface and she was not able to get the rest that she needed to heal and thrive again.  She thought and she thought, and she thought, until finally she came up with a solution. She would look to the people to help her.

 

So, she came to the people and she asked them to go their homes. She asked them to spend time with their loved ones and to close their doors and to stay inside for a while so that she might get the rest that she needed without having to worry about them and take care of them.  So that she could rest her weary spirit, just for just a while.

 

At first, the people felt wary and afraid. They had never been asked to close their doors and stay inside. How would they keep themselves busy? How would they work and make money? How would they entertain themselves if the stores and the movie theaters and the bowling alleys and the playgrounds were all closed? They crossed their arms and shook their heads no and the Earth wept harder and the floodwaters rose. She shook with despair and the grounds cracked beneath the people’s feet.

 

Eventually, after watching the Earth continue to struggle and realizing the damage that her struggles were doing to her, the people began to talk to one another.

 

“We would not allow our own kind to suffer this way without rest,” some of them exclaimed. “We must give her the chance to sleep and heal as she carries so much responsibility on her strong shoulders,” they said.

 

And so, it was decided. The people shut down their shops and their movie theaters and their bowling alleys and their schools. They cancelled their plans to fly away for vacations and they agreed to postpone their meetings and their get-togethers and their parties. They went into their homes with their loved ones and they closed their doors.

 

Then a heavy silence fell over the Earth. Gone was the din of cars swooshing past one another on the roadways. Gone were the sounds of jet engines roaring overhead. Gone was the clanging of hammers and the growl of power tools as construction came to a halt. The Earth took a deep breath in and let a giant exhale out as she settled in to nap.  She was lulled to sleep by only the sounds of the birds chirping, and the crickets playing lovely tunes; the wind whispering through the trees, and the gentle crash of the waves upon empty shores.

 

Many suns rose and set, and the moon cycled from new to full and back again. Meanwhile, behind their closed doors, many of the people became restless. They had not yet learned to appreciate the stillness and the quiet.  They were afraid of the unknown; afraid of how long the Earth might sleep. They wondered if they should wake her. They talked together and decided that they should try to.

 

And so, on a beautiful, early morning, just as the sun was peaking over the horizon, the people went outside and they began to dance. They started slowly at first, hoping that the gentle rhythm of their feet drumming against the Earth would tenderly wake her from her slumber. Still, she slept. The people began to dance faster. Still, she slept. And so, the people began to jump and yell and shake their bodies, twirling in circles and prancing across the Earth. Still, she slept.

 

Yet somehow, as the people danced, they forgot that they were trying to wake the Earth from her slumber. They realized, as they moved and shook and allowed joyful sounds to burst from their mouths, that they were reviving an old song together. One that had not been sung for many, many years but that they felt rise up from deep within them.  They felt cheerful and connected to one another, some of them for the first time in ages. They smiled and laughed. They felt appreciation for one another and for their strong bodies and capable hearts.

 

As this shift happened in the minds of the people, the Earth finally began to stir. She stretched her long limbs and blinked her eyes opened. She looked about and saw beautiful things happening all around her. Animals that she had not seen in long passages of time crept slowly out of hiding to drink from her rivers and streams. Thick smog that had hung heavy over the mountaintops began to dissipate and she was able to see snow-capped peaks that had been hidden from her view for ages. She took a big, deep breath in and noticed that the air tasted sweeter and cleaner. She saw the now crystal-clear oceans shimmering in the distance.

 

And then, she saw the people. All of them dancing together, creating beautiful music, rejoicing in each other and massaging her skin with their rhythmic steps. She felt the sickness slowly leaving her body. Deep within her core, a stirring began, like a small flame flickering in the breeze. As she continued to watch the people, the flame began to grow and grow and grow. The more that the people danced and sang and rejoiced, the more powerful this warm buzzing in her center became. She realized that their joy and love and connectedness were her medicine and she felt stronger and stronger still as she observed them.

 

The people, lost in their exhilaration, had stopped thinking about their stores and their bowling alleys and their money and their vacations. She noticed that they were remembering, instead, their deep connection to each other, to her, and to all the ways that she supported them. As she healed, they began to heal and as they began to heal, so continued her healing. They were part of the same and were learning to work together in new ways. However, the people knew they could not dance forever. So, one day, they stopped dancing.

 

When they did, they took the time to look around them and they too began to notice the animals coming out of hiding, the icy mountain tops in the distance, the crystal cleanliness of the air and the beautiful blues and greens of the oceans.  As Earth once again allowed her people to come back outside and enjoy her many natural playgrounds, she noticed that they did so with a new respect and sense of wonder.  They took greater care to keep the beautiful Earth clean and to honor her wildlife. They took the time to learn more about her plants and the natural medicines they could provide. They devoted their energy to finding solutions to heal the very things that had been making their beautiful Earth sick in the first place.

 

As the people took better care of the Earth, the Earth responded with great love. She offered up new resources for the people to use to keep her soil and waters and air clean.  She granted their wish for more knowledge and taught them the ancient ways that they had become so disconnected from. She continued to show them the beauty of simplicity and encouraged them to take the time to dance whenever they felt called to do so.  Together, the people and the Earth created a new way of being.

 

And so, they all lived happily ever after.

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