Today is the first day of Earth Month. This year, rather than planning events and festivals, we are dealing with a pandemic caused by an invisible virus that threatens life. Yet, there has been another threat to life that has become more visible year by year. It is climate change. As we continue to deal with the immediate threat, we cannot forget the long range one.
During Earth Month, the Sisters of St. Joseph will post a short video clip and reflection sharing what is happening on their Brentwood campus. This will be posted on Facebook and on our website each Wednesday.
There is a healing power hidden within woodlands. Walking in the woods, time ceases to have any meaning. We are separated from the outer world and life takes on a calming simplicity. It is quiet except for the birdsongs and the sounds of crunching underfoot. We fall into this rhythm as we look at the trees. Each tree is a world of its own supporting a community of life. How old are they? Their buds ready to open or their new green say that they are ready to live for another season. What is their life history? We stop walking and the crunching stops. Listening we can hear nature singing in its own language. birdcalls and the rustle of small animals in the brush tell us we are not alone. There is harmony and life is in constant renewal. We leave and for some time we are part of it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Take time to observe trees wherever you are. It may not be possible to walk among them at this time, but plan for a future walk. Observe a tree and its community of life. Think of the vast destruction of forests on this planet. Plant a tree or support organizations that do.
There is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its shoots will not die.
8 If its roots grow old in the ground
and its stump starts to die in the soil,
9 the scent of water makes it thrive
and produce twigs like a sapling.
Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.
George Washington Carver
I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.
Henry David Thoreau
Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike.
If you cut down a forest, it doesn’t matter how many sawmills you have if there are no more trees.
The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth.
Thich Nhat Hanh
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
The Sisters of St. Joseph will preserve the 40 acres of woodlands on their property and close them to any future development. Formed by a unique set of geological conditions over the past 15,000 years, our 40 acres of woodlands overlie large quantities of pure drinking water on Long Island and boast a great diversity of trees, plants, and birds. Two hundred years ago, pine tree woodlands blanketed one-fourth of Long Island, assuring a plentiful supply of clean water. Today, much of that land has been developed, and our water supply has been diminished. Virtually all of Long Island’s drinking water is drawn from a single system of underground reservoirs, known as aquifers. This dependence led the federal Environmental Protection Agency to designate our aquifer system as the nation’s first “sole source aquifer” requiring special protection. The threat to water quality lies on the land above the aquifers. Any contaminants which the rainwater collects will be carried with it into our drinking supply.