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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

If We Call Her Father Earth

Frog, Mj Pettengill
Frog, Mj Pettengill

This offering is for all creatures that share our space on this incredible planet. I have always maintained a close connection to the Earth's furred, feathered, and winged beings. I have also claimed and reclaimed my place here. It is an ongoing process to connect and reconnect with the environment. We are always in a state of change.

I know that I am nature; it is not outside of me. It certainly is nothing to harness or tame. Hence, what I do to Her, I do to myself. It's a simple yet powerful mantra regarding my paradisical citizenship and responsibility to this planet. For those who do not know, I come from a long line of farmers. For this, I am grateful and proud. I also trace my lineage back to the Abenaki, a focal point for my historical research for the Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series, and the integrity of my wildcraft practice. Yes, I walk with the ancients. To clarify: Wild·craft /ˈwīldkraft/ Verb: gather (herbs, plants, and fungi) from the wild. (Oxford Languages)

Dear Mother Gaia, The instant I read the news that day, when the insert fell out of a newspaper that I have not read for at least a decade, I was without words. It was the herbicide spraying schedule for all of New Hampshire. The spraying is to take place in June on roadsides along powerlines. It's about killing those stumps once and for all. My town is right there, with many routes scheduled to be sprayed. Before I sounded the alarm, I did some basic research. I confirmed that four of the herbicides to be sprayed are toxic to human life. Of course, logic will nudge us in the direction that if a substance is created and applied to kill living organisms, we will, at some point, be affected. We are, in fact, part of the food chain. Because we are supposedly on the top does not mean we have an endless supply of get-out-of-jail-free cards. It is what it is. I thought that the folks in my town would leap out of their chairs. I imagined them grabbing their phones, computers, megaphones, or whatever to protest the poisoning of our precious trees, land, rivers, streams, wells, wetlands, birds, frogs, insects, and more and more and more. It is so straightforward to me. I expected gatherings and chanting; we will protect Our Mother. I hoped that the beautiful snowflakes would come together and be at least a wicked Nor'easter with enough strength to stop this destruction. I was wrong. I heard from a few beautiful souls; however, we are not even a flurry worthy of wearing mittens without each other. I shared a few posts on our local boards. As I wrote above, I received a few very concerned responses, but not enough, and not from those who are members of boards and commissions with intentions to protect and save our planet. The ball was dropped with a sickening thud after only a few days. To say that I am disheartened isn't the point. I sat with this. I contacted various companies, agencies, and individuals. As a citizen scientist, I have driven down the roads here. I can see the ripped-down trees strewn about in the places that now require herbicides to keep anything (anything) from growing back. What a mess. At first, I was all about rolling up my sleeves and fighting the good fight. I want to protect the water, animals, and all that thrive in this ecosystem that will be assaulted with herbicides in June. Again, I sat with it. I tumbled into a dark place while trying to comprehend why my neighbors weren't willing to speak on behalf of nature, on behalf of themselves. I decided that in the name of my own health and well-being, as one who has been on a powerful healing journey, it would be like arm-wrestling Thor. I would lose and end up wearing my elbow brace again. So, I would like to share with those who actually care about the health of living beings on our planet that you can make a phone call to express your concerns. If your well or pond is within 75 feet of spraying, you can contact them, and they will not spray. You will be exempt. There will be other circumstances that you can discuss. If you don't want the edge of your property doused with herbicides intended to kill organisms, call the number below. I have already made the call, and there will be no spraying here. It seems like a needle in a haystack, I know. But, I took control over what I could. I cannot force all of those in town who are okay with this action scheduled to take place in June to act. I get it. We have been through so much individually and collectively; what's the big deal with a spritz of hazardous chemicals, right? We have been dealing with an uninterrupted flurry of challenges. Would the tree hugger just go away? Sorry. I am not going anywhere. I have promised myself to stay in my lane. I am protecting what is within my reach. I understand that your coping skills may be kaput. My salvation is the woods, rivers, fields, ponds, and all of their inhabitants. This is a massive deal to me. Please, don't pretend to care about the environment if you are not willing to step up and do the right thing. To the pretty frogs, dragonflies, birds, fish, beavers, flowers, rivers, bees, and swamps, I am sorry. What else will be affected when the spraying begins? The list may be endless. Until 2022 (now), we did not spray, so it's not as if we cannot apply another trimming method. I love this Earth. I love Our Mother. Not only when it seems cool to say so. I live according to the cycles and seasons. I inhabit the land, which, sadly, too many are willing to participate in it becoming a wasteland. What's a mother to do? Perhaps, if we called Her Father Earth, He would not be abused, raped, pillaged, and thrown away after a good time was had by all. I pray with all of my being for healing and wellness. I pray for a true awakening during these unprecedented times. Love is the answer. In Loving Kindness, Marya of the Wood ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Long Live the Night Chorus


Call NHEC, Michael Couture, 603-325-3227 to discuss whether or not your property qualifies for a spraying exemption.



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