What does it mean to mother nature?
Consider for a moment that we have misread the phrase "Mother Nature" all along ...
By name, and pronoun, Mother Nature gives us the impression that she is the boss, she knows all, she is the matriarch of our collective household and rules over us.
Instead, consider mother is a verb, and maybe...just maybe we are supposed to be mothering nature... nurturing her, raising her to be a good and helpful citizen that we work along side of...because if mother is a verb, we are collectively doing a very poor job at being a parents right now.
We do tend to treat Nature as our mom and we are the insolent children... we expect She will take care of us and cater to our whims, be there for every dress rehearsal and have gum in her purse when we have bad breath...we thank her only when we get an award, we occasionally buy a gift or send a card, call once in awhile to make sure she's okay...but we live our lives, get busy and maybe not check on her as often as we should... until she's in a frail or damaged state.
If we turn the tables on ourselves and realize WE are the mother in this case, and that nature is our child, then we realize that we are those horrific parents we would report to authorities.
As a general societal concept, our lives have been set up for "battle" with Nature...
we plow, we dig, we re-form, we destroy and use up everything she has gifted us with for our own growth and survival...we are seeing our child as a resource...something we need to take from ... or fight ...we are seeing our own child as a threat to our very existence.
We've been taught that Mother Nature will always be there for us, just as young children see a parent. We have this impression that we must fight our mother to be self sufficient and fly away with strength, it means survival. We think we know more...
....but if we fought our children and took everything that they can give...they would (will) perish.
I am definitely not the one and only philosopher that has identified with this concept
...if you've explored the many transcendentalist writers out there, this is not breaking news. There are few modern thinkers that are continuing to push back on the old narrative...check out the absolute genetic marvel that is Neri Oxman on Abstract ... Neri gives me hope for (wo)mankind!
Why don't we wake up everyday doing something about dying whales, floods and strip mining? Because it's mind-boggling to solve a problem that millions of people collectively caused...me included (yup, I've tossed my plastic into the wrong bins, over consumed oil products and eaten animals that were factory farmed just like you have)
...and so I make art and create images from a place where I have no words, and I hope to make just a handful of people think differently...and maybe one of those people will have the energy or resource or voice that I lack to get through to 7.98 billion humans.
Erin Thomas is an artist living in Southern Maine
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