Years ago, our little family visited the Thoreau museum at Walden outside of Boston. I was taken by the simplicity of it. My daughter and I walked the perimeter of the pond much differently than Mr Thoreau would have done. He called it sauntering, an art form for walking. I want to be that kind of artist, a saunterer. I would think that even in the busy suburb where we live, a saunterer could find pleasure in the art. Thoreau wrote:
For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea.
This brings me to the point: the most basic appreciation of the natural world comes from sucking in its beauty and complexity every day, and walking gently through it all. Away from any device that has a plug, just me and the sunshine, or better yet, just me and the gently falling rain.
A beautiful expression of this kind of environmental activism — because that’s what it is — is in this wonderful article published on the Mother Earth News‘ blog, by Randy Walker. Walker describes in vivid detail the simple act of “caretaking” for the planet.
Describing a grandfather teaching his grandson, less by words, more by example, through simple acts like carrying a few seeds in his pocket at all times, while on walks, to plant in spots where they could thrive and rebuild that little spot of the Earth, Walker’s article is inspiring.
Grandfather would not only want to interact with the environment to maintain a state of homeostasis, he wanted to leave the area better than it was before. That is the way of the Caretaker. Essentially, a Caretaker is a healer of the Earth.