UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

'Earth become conscious'

Three small offerings

By Carolyn Pogue

Isabelle Klaiber is a delightful friend because she always surprises me. I love surprises. One day, at lunch with friends, Isabelle slipped a zinger of a story into the conversation.

“Last summer,” she began, “a few of us from the subdivision noticed that the trees in our park looked neglected; they needed pruning. We got our tools and went to work. We ended up with quite a pile of branches. I phoned the city, told them what we’d done and asked if they could pick up the cuttings.”

The next thing she knew, Isabelle was answering a phone call from the police. “They informed me that there was a $500.00 fine for damaging park property — for each of us.

“So, I just kept talking,” Isabelle said. “I said we were only trying to help; I said we’d done a great job, too. And he agreed. I told him how sorry I was that he hadn’t been with us because after we’d finished, I’d sung the Hallelujah Chorus at the top of my lungs.

“The officer laughed. And paused. Then he said, ‘You know, I have a couple of trees in my yard that need a trim. Would you have the time?'”

Photo by Carolyn Pogue
Photo by Carolyn Pogue

The little park near our home provides me with surprises, too. It’s a wild park and is one reason that we wanted to live on our street. This summer, I encountered one surprise that was not a delight: an alarming accumulation of litter near a grand old poplar tree and some ruined saplings. I went to meet some of the people who have started using the park in the evenings (and who I suspected were littering). I briefly conversed before asking them to help me with the litter problem. I later hung a garbage bag in the tree for them; they used it. Today, I made a thank you sign and prepared a box of cookies for them.

In my concern about the park, I talked to neighbours I’d never met before. One surprise was that I met Carole Wardlaw, who, in 1974, lobbied the city to have the park protected from development. This designated “parkland” includes a poplar stand, meadow, a spring, myriad wildflowers, a flock of partridge, rabbits, mice, passing coyotes and deer. I felt I’d met a daughter of St. Francis of Assisi, and I suppose I had.

A further delight came to me last Sunday at the Mountain View Arts Festival in Didsbury, just north of Calgary. There, I met a man who told me that when he started farming, he broke the land with the plough. In the Dirty Thirties, he had watched the top soil blow away or build up along the fence lines. “In some places, there was just three or four inches of the fence posts showing,” he said. “And so we learned how to care for the land.” What was remarkable and wonderful to me was that he retrieved the soil that had blown against his fences and carefully returned it to the fields so it could receive seed.  I cannot imagine more back breaking, painstaking work.

Cosmologist Brian Swimme says that humans are “Earth become conscious.” I like to imagine that we are, and that our little human efforts to restore, compost, protect, clean and prune are expressions of that. In the near future, I will focus more writing here on others whose efforts — large and small — spin a web of protection for Earth.

Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a longtime Observer contributor. New posts of The Pogue Blog will appear on the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Interviews

Courtesy of Pixabay

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Promotional Image

Editorials

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: It’s a long road toward full equality for women

by Jocelyn Bell

'It’s a wonder that we continue to see male ministers as normative and attach shame to female ministers’ biology and sexuality.'

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Faith

May 2018

Toronto church builds interfaith friendship

by Vivien Fellegi

Faith

May 2018

This parent found no support for her autistic daughter — and decided to change that

by Kieran Delamont

Suzanne Allen talks about raising a daughter on the autism spectrum and bringing all autistic girls together

Faith

May 2018

Church retreat helps first responders with PTSD

by Joe Martelle

Interviews

May 2018

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Ethics

May 2018

Pregnant in the pulpit

by Trisha Elliott

Ministers who take a maternity leave still face discrimination in their own congregations

Interviews

May 2018

The two words Rev. Cheri DiNovo wants to hear from the United Church

by Alex Mlynek

The Toronto minister talks about her disappointment over the church’s silence when she officiated the country’s first legalized same-sex marriage 17 years ago – and why she wants an apology.

Promotional Image