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Earth Voices
Of Three Rivers
Betty Luceigh

This morning as we walked to a fork in the hillside trail, my dog invited me with his eyes and a slight turn of his head, “Let’s go this way today.” We strolled above the Kaweah River, hidden below by oak leaves. Its roar reminded me, “This is the direction of our valley.”  I turned toward a small finch on a lupine bush as it sang, “I am your companion in this moment.”

And so it went, these voices of Nature: manzanitas reporting their histories of reaching for the sun, rooted underbrush offering me their secure footing, and a cool breeze reporting that snow still remained on Alta Peak.

When I returned to my home and fed my dog, I explained to him, “This is to nourish your enjoyment of life.”  When I watered my lavender, I whispered to it, “This is so you may fully express your beauty.”

And so it went, this voice of mine: thanking the orange blossoms for their fragrance and the deer for posing for a photo, laughing with the hummingbird hovering before my nose, and asking the skunk, perhaps impolitely, to go elsewhere.

I wonder sometimes of these conversations among the voices of Earth, whether dog, river, tree, or me. I wonder at their meanings and what needs they fulfill. I listen for our relationships and interdependence, our disagreements and resolutions. I am told by the air and fruit and river how they sustain my body. I am told by the elegance of their cadences how they sustain my spirit. But what of my one human reply in exchange? When I lift my gaze to the Giant Sequoias, do they hear my awe and respect for their steadfastness? When I tilt my face to accept the rain upon it, does it hear my gratitude within the acceptance of its wetness?

And so it continues, all of us, human and not, speaking through our different manifestations, reminding each other we are here as co-participants in a grand expression of one Earth Voice. As we walk together, human or not, may we each invite the other with our presence and a slight turn of our soul to say, “Let’s go this beautiful way today.”

©B. A. Luceigh, 2013