Earth Day Remembrance by Sara Wright

“It is the Whole Earth You Are”

I was on my knees awash in the kind of grief that only people who have been torn from the same skin can begin to comprehend.

I sprinkled most of the ashes lovingly in the shallow depression that I dug into half frozen ground. I had never felt so alone. Unknown to me, once a beloved companion, my little brother’s ashes had spent 32 years stuffed into a cardboard box in my parents’ attic. Every year since his death my nightmares intensified… he was left wandering in the dark with no place to rest.

After the burial I sprinkled a few ashes into the rushing brook waters and returned to the house hoping that this simple ceremony had set him free. I had chosen the spot with care in a protected crevice under a giant granite whale that I named Trillium rock. The day was cold and gray – Earth Day – I had no idea – Every day was Earth Day for me.

Without him, I had no one until Nature stepped in and saved me. Within a few days after my ceremony, I planted three -lobed trillium and then a witch hazel bush just inches in front of where he lay, honoring the goddess I called Nature and my brother’s devotion to her that lasted throughout his oh too brief life.

My nightmares never returned.

Instead, this place became sacred. Whenever I walk down to the brook to sit in front of the crevice I marvel at the trillium, ferns, trailing arbutus and spreading lichens that emerge from the top and sides of the mossy covered stone. Last Year I planted bloodroot. Unless it is winter, I sit on a little bench that my father had built and ‘re -member’…. I can always sense and feel a benign force hovering over me.  Peace intervenes even when the sadness overcomes me- my tears nourish the ground beneath my feet.

Because all the land around me has either been heavily logged or chopped  into lots, my home has become a solitary postage stamp honoring Wild Nature, but there isn’t enough of it to change the shrinking water table, the algae bloom, the loss of so many birds, frogs and bears…the obsessive logging, noise, and gunning. Except for Trillium rock and a few other secret places under the hemlocks the spirit and soul of Wild Nature seems to be absenting herself from this land. Too much destruction.

This grief has driven me into a protected forest where for the second time I have found refuge from human carnage and greed. Two years ago, I dreamed that my little brother now runs free throughout these protected lands, and so today of all days I offer a prayer not just for Davey but for the forests we once roamed together. Although something of him remains here at Trillium rock his spirit and soul follow me through my new Refuge, a forest where for a time we are one again together and free.

Author: Sara Wright

I am a writer and naturalist who lives in a little log cabin by a brook with my two dogs and a ring necked dove named Lily B. I write a naturalist column for a local paper and also publish essays, poems and prose in a number of other publications.

3 thoughts on “Earth Day Remembrance by Sara Wright”

  1. What a beautiful poignant memorial Sara. I felt sadness, peace, and finally the joy of your brother’s freedom with that sense of him being with you in your forest refuge. Nature seems to have set you both free. Thank you for sharing that story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another beautiful essay. Thanks so much for sharing your story as well as the photograph of your brother. After reading so much about him over the years it is lovely to see him. Your essay immediately made me think of Charlene Spretnak’s reclaimed Persephone story, in which she took the classical Greek story and excavated the original story in which Persephone is not kidnapped, but rather feels so much care and compassion for the lost souls in Hades who need to be led to a more peaceful place that she voluntarily spends part of each year there, uniting the two realms of below and above and being associated, of course, with spring. Your essay speaks to your care and compassion both for your brother and for the need to bring wholeness back to the Earth after all our human transgressions have wrought so much destruction. May your essay be an inspiration for all of us to act on care and compassion for suffering beings on both sides of the veil and give urgency to the need to honor Wild Nature.

    Liked by 1 person

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