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Do You Like Butter?
Guest Post by Marian Van Eyk McCain
In this corner of the English countryside where I live there are buttercups absolutely everywhere I look, at the moment. Millions upon millions of them, filling the fields with their golden glow, lining the sides of the road, lifting their yellow faces to a sun that turns them golden.
As children, we would pick a buttercup and hold it close to a friend’s chin, asking “Do you like butter?” When a patch of gold appeared on their skin, as though melted butter had dripped from their lips, “There you are” we would say, delighting in this simple piece of childhood magic. “I proved it. You DO like butter.”
As I turn these long-ago memories slowly in my mind I am thinking that our chins are not the only part of us to reflect Nature. The water in our bodies mirrors the tides. We sleep and wake with the cycle of the days and nights and our energies rise and fall with the seasons and the sap in the trees. We stock our pantries and open bank accounts out of the same instinct that drives a squirrel or a blue jay to hoard or bury nuts.
Nature lives in us, breathes through us. Nature IS us. We are all made of the same ‘stuff’ and the raw materials of which we are constructed are infinitely and indefinitely interchangeable and everlasting. The atoms that make up a molecule of me today may go to form a frog two hundred years from now. Today’s starfish may build the body of my great, great, great-grandchildren.
This is the reality of ecosystems. Everything is connected to—and dependent upon—everything else, and humans are but a part of that. We are not Nature’s lords and masters. We are not in charge of it. Its laws bind us as surely as they bind every other living organism. And every decision we make—practical, social, economic, or political—should be based on that. We call it ‘ecocentric’ thinking. And it is the only attitude that gives any hope for a future on this planet.
The new book GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness, a collection of writings on the green spirituality of the 21st Century, is my attempt to show how the ecocentric principle upon which all life depends may be—and hopefully will be—consciously applied to every aspect of human life.
If we can do that, and create a sustainable way of life for humans on this Earth, then I can dare to hope that the buttercups will continue to bloom and my great, great, great-grandchildren, too, will one day be able to hold them to each other’s chins and ask “Do you like butter?”
Marian Van Eyk McCain is the author of three non-fiction books, including ‘The Lilypad List: 7 steps to the simple life’ (Findhorn Press, 2004), a primer for living simply and lightly on the planet. She is Co-Editor of the GreenSpirit Journal and Editor of 'GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness' (O Books, 2010), a new anthology with a Foreword by Satish Kumar and contributions from Brian Swimme, Matthew Fox, David Korten, Stephan Harding, Cormac Cullinan, Chris Clarke and nineteen other writers. Her main website, which reflects her keen interest in ‘green and conscious aging’ is www.elderwoman.org