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During our last Deep Adaptation retreat, poet and artist, Sukina Douglas led a creative writing workshop. Sukina invited the participants to use creative writing as an instrument to imagine our descendants and the voice of the Earth. The first piece is by Lauren Minis and is written as a letter to Lauren’s imagined descendants. The second piece of writing is by Maxine Longden, and Maxine penned this in response to an exercise where participants were invited to write in the voice of Mother Earth.

(Sukina Douglas hosts a community arts space at St Ethelburgas called Presence a new project as part of the Sacred Activist Programme designed to bring young adults together through creativity, faith/spirituality and activism.)

Descendants

To my descendants,

Oh, how I wish you understood the abundance we had in those days before the floods, fires, and other tragedies came. Your earth today looks vastly different from how it had in the past and even before my time, there were so many diverse species that existed, colourful birds filled with song. Do you hear song other than from human tongue? 

We had redwood trees that were several stories high that blanketed the landscapes in California. Do you have a California anymore? Did you know of the mighty blue whale that was so big that a human was the size of its eye? Did you know of the giraffe, the elephant, and the bear? Can you see these big creatures? We had colourful plants that smelled so sweet when they flowered. Do you have colour much these days? Are you able to taste the richness in cuisine from tomatoes and herbs? We are often spoiled by the deliciousness we have, and we don’t even realize we have them. 

I’m sorry we did not treasure the diversity and richness of life that existed before us and that still exists. We have robbed you of these precious things, and we didn’t even know we were doing it. We were blind to consequences, selfishness, and greed and were not thinking of you. We left you with little but yet I feel like you are ok with the little we left and yet it still isn’t fair to you, but maybe you have a lot to offer to us. 

You have gifts and wisdom we may have lost or have not discovered. You adapted, you got creative and innovative. We need you now and don’t even realize it. You are important, you matter, and I want you to know that at least I care, and I am sorry, and I ask for your forgiveness, and I carry you with me in my heart as I hope you will carry me even though we left you with so little. 

May you not follow our same path of destruction. May you honour your descendants not in the way we failed you. May you find peace, love, happiness, gratitude in your life and I ask for your forgiveness so there can be a great healing for all time to come.

By Lauren Minis

Earth’s Voice 

Hello my darling,

I see your flame. Your courageous flickering as you reach forwards. It doesn’t always work, of course, and you shrink and expand from one moment to the next as you are fed by the breath of others. You sometimes fall, nearly extinguished, but you don’t go out. I see you.

I feel you reaching. The sensors on your feet and hands, tentative tendrils spiralling for connection, a child’s hand reaching for its mother in sleep.

Your feet stomp and trip on me. I shrink from the sharp exhalation of your breath and the hard knot of your mind. 

I don’t mind. Every opening is the weaving of a doorway that you will be able to meet me through again and again. 

Come again. I love to watch you grow.

By Maxime Longden 

Mishal Baig

Research Intern