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Mother Earth

Sleepy, yawning, across the meadows the sun rolls out the shadows, long, low dark patches. The flowers turned to look at the sun, to say ‘good morning, it’s a beautiful day.’ The outline of the hills change as the earth awakes. Mother Earth opens an eye, but the effort is too much, and it closes again. Oh, why did she go to the party? Why did she stay so long? All the jolly chatter still echoed, now painfully through her head. All the jolly dancing still strained her aching legs and feet. Fragile and blurred Mother Earth rested. Then she remembered the promises. Why do you always make promises at parties? Had she really agreed to start a new spring near the hill farm? What was she thinking about? Water is always tricky. Water always wants to find its own way over the hills and valleys, often changing direction. So fickle, water. Never told her what it was going to do – she could never plan ahead when water was involved. Mother Earth groaned. Her sister, Pele, had the hot fires of the volcanoes to deal with. Count your blessings, thought Mother Earth, and reassured herself that creating the spring would make a pleasant diversion on this summer’s day. Her stomach rumbled, growled its emptiness. She bent down and cupped some lake water in her broad practical hands. It tasted good. Refreshed she asked the rain to fill the lake again and caused all her neighbours to rush from their houses to bring the washing in, as heavy drops obligingly fell from the clouds. Mother Earth surveyed the valley’s sides. None of the rocks had decided to move overnight, no sudden landslides or boulder falls. That was a blessing. Perhaps the stones would behave themselves today.

Mother Earth looked up the valley’s green fields, hedgerows in flower, crops ripening. Yes. She was pleased with the progress of summer. The hens attracted her attention, disturbed by the cockerel, his continuing call reminding her of the day’s duties. Stepping lightly now, she quietly strolled up the track way, neither wanting to disturb the cows nor the black and white farm dogs she knew lay in wait in their kennels, ready to bark and rush and warn of any approach.

They saw her, of course. None could miss Mother Earth when she moved, the pebbles always played around her feet and the air breezed cheerfully through her hair. At the base of the copse, where the farmer had requested the new spring, Mother Earth looked into the rocks. There was a good flow of water beneath the surface. It would provide fresh clean water for the farm. One of those dependable wells that never dries up. Mother Earth was happy. This would be a satisfying achievement, easily obtained. But she also knew these rocks were obstinate. Millions of years old, they were, like all old people, a little set in their ways, on bad days even cranky and awkward. Would these ancient ones agree to create a cleft so that water would flow outwards? Today, she felt the water would be fine it was the old rocks that would provide the challenge.

Her first approach was respectful. ‘Honourable rocks’ she whispered, ‘will you ease a little to allow a new spring?’ The rocks pretended to be hard of hearing, or perhaps they were, who can tell with awkward old people sometimes. Now Mother Earth despite her gentle ways did have some standing in the community. She was, after all, Mother Earth. Democratically elected by all beings as number one Earth Guardian, she felt her post held responsibility and dignity. She did not enjoy being ignored, even by the elders of the community.

Her next advance was thus a little firmer. ‘Rocks, you are recognised as the most valuable members of the earth, but the beings of the earth need the water trapped under your cover. Would you please, gracious beings, move a little to allow the water through?’ The ancient ones could hardly ignore this eloquent speech. Yet, they did! For these also had the rudeness and stubbornness that sometimes comes with age.

A little lateral thinking is needed, thought Mother Earth. What do these rocks least like? Being disturbed.

‘Venerable Ones’, tried Mother Earth again, ‘is the water distressing you? I see it rushing under you, pushing against you, trying to wear you down with its constant activity. May I ease your discomfort by suggesting you move a little in your resting place to change the flow? The elders of the community should be at ease and not disturbed by the annoyance of this water.’

Mother Earth waited. The rocks groaned a little. Perhaps in the thought of the water, or perhaps at Mother Earth’s pestering. Whichever, a small shudder ensured that a trickle of water appeared, glistening, surprised at its unexpected emergence into sunlight. Mother Earth patted the rocks, as one does when a cantankerous elderly person does what you want, and said, ‘I’m sure you’ll feel better now, dear.’

The farmer, already alerted by the dogs, arrived, looked at the fresh water now starting the flow profusely from the rocks and happily exclaimed, ‘Thank you, Mother Earth.’

Page last updated: 13th Jan 2011