– Elizabeth Appell
Spring the season of rebirth is among us and how ironic that this earth-shattering pandemic would arrive at such a fitting moment! While civilzations seem to be crumbling due to a microorganism, and we collectively try to make sense of our present reality it comforts me to realize we can take refuge in the healing power of nature.
The wild flowers have arrived and dotted the landscape with indescribable beauty and as life would have it this is the first year I have come across wild peonies. I first saw them in a documentary about the dehesa landscape and felt a tinge of sadness because I had never seen any in La Donaira. Imagine my surprise when a week ago, out of the corner of my eye I spotted my first wild peony. At risk of sounding utterly sentimental, it was nothing short of miraculous. I felt a profound sense of hope that although has dissipated is still with me.
While confinement is ongoing I am reminded about two very important things. The first is that nature heals. Nature is an essential part of our felt experience as humans and calls to something very deep in us. The effects of nature´s qualities on health can not be understated and presently society needs a lot of healing: not only physically but more importantly emotionally and spiritually. There is so much grief about the state of the world and through healing something new can emerge. Once confinement restrictions are lifted allow the beauty of Spring to soothe you.
The second, that possibility is a choice. I truly believe that people will be accountable and committed to what they have a hand in creating. The current “love” of leaders limits our capacity to create an alternative future because it proposes that the only real accountability in the world is at the top. The effect of this world view is deeply problematic because it lets citizens off the hook and breeds citizen dependency and entitlement. What will bring a fresh future into being will be citizens who are willing to self-organize. Think of it as citizen-leaders who will be willing to pay the economic and emotional price that creating something new will require.
My hope is firstly that as a community we will begin healing our fragmentation and realize that we are all part of the interdependent web of all existence. Let´s embrace this moment of upheaval as an opportunity to start investing in planetary restoration and our communities´ well-being. Using the peony as a metaphor, we are now in a very unsettling, isolating, and interesting bud phase. What will we able to create together? or better yet what will we as a society bloom into?