For the Earth Warriors. By Chris Heeter.

For the Earth Warriors…
by Chris Heeter

It used to be that weather was the thing you talked about–
at least in the Midwest–
when there was nothing else to say.

It followed ‘Hello’ and a mumbled ‘How ya doing’
with no expectation of a lengthy reply.

It quickly moved from there to temperatures, wind, or rain fall.
Something you could really sink your teeth into.

It had to do with altered outdoor plans
or rain needed for crops and gardens.

Here in the northland it was about wind chill
and how the old timers used to walk to school
in inclement weather without whining.

That sort of thing.

But these days, talk of weather has changed.
What was once unusual has become the norm.
Hurricanes, droughts, high and low temps—
all are off the charts we’ve faithfully kept all these years.
Indeed even habitats have changed.

What once supported moose, for example,
has shifted as temperatures climb
expanding the range of deer
bringing parasites and heat stress.

You know this already…or are quickly catching on.
What are we to do with what we know?
At best we feel a dull ache and concern
other times full on foreboding.

Most of us channel this into action of some kind—
at large or at home, we do what we can
and try to do more.
It’s frustrating and terrifying
but there is no temptation to look away.

We feel this in our bones as beings on this planet.
It is a deep inner knowing of something profoundly out of balance.
If this were a pretty poem, it would wrap up now
with something tidy and neat
about how we will find our Weh.

But this is a gritty poem that knows better.
It joins the chorus of millions upon millions
of voices, hearts and souls
that cry out and will not look away.

So here it is, what I can offer is this…
in your darkest places and times
when your love and actions on behalf of all things Wild
feel not nearly enough,
remember you are not alone.

There are countless like-minded Wild souls here with you
also aware, also not willing to look away.
You can take heart in that.

We are a crafty lot.

And when you need to sigh or cry or fall apart
there are others here to help you pick up the pieces
and begin again. And again.
Until we tilt the circumstances
or die trying.

This beautiful world is worth it.
And you, Earth Warrior, are part of that beauty.

Image: Travis Bonovsky.

Thank you to Chris Heeter of the Wild Institute for generously giving permission to print her poem.

Learn more about The Wild Institute and wilderness guide, leadership speaker, and poet, Chris Heeter, here.