Life by its very nature

Senior Madison Geering contemplated the resilience of our planet as she gazed at the horizon from her backyard. Geering believes that the Earth is a model for the resilience that one should develop. (Madison Geering)

It occurred to me as I gazed at the horizon from my backyard: I’d never really thought about the Earth. The way it just existed.

A soft breeze ruffled my hair and swayed the palm trees perched in the distance. From the top of the hill, I could see the freeway twisting over the lagoon and the cars crawling like ants on a log. The Earth hadn’t always looked like this.

At one point, there were no freeways, cars or cookie-cutter suburbia. The planet was untamed, but free. The thought reminded me of a David Attenborough documentary I watched, highlighting the importance of maintaining Earth’s “wild” places. The most memorable part from the film was the footage of Pripyat, Ukraine, years after the disastrous Chernobyl Power Plant accident. The city was abandoned but overgrown with lush wildlife once again. 

Underneath my feet, for my whole life, has been the model for resilience: the Earth.”

— Madison Geering

I remember being moved by the way that our planet endured it all.

I was moved similarly as I continued to contemplate the Californian horizon in front me, sitting on the deck in my backyard. 

How strong, I thought, the Earth is for turning on its axis even when its forests have been left in ashes and splinters. How strong it is for supporting such diverse life when brutal wars have been fought on its surface. How strong it is for flourishing anew each spring, even as the climate gets warmer.

How strong the world is and how privileged we are to live in a world so beautiful, so resilient by nature. The same Earth that can unleash torrential storms and support fierce predators still blooms flowers with tenderness and grace.

A quiet symphony of birdsong plays for us beneath the noise of weekday traffic. Among all other life, the Earth endures us too in the same way that we endure each other, our life experiences, our own insecurities. 

It is not endurance in spite of weakness and pain, but rather endurance despite our obstacles.

Underneath my feet, for my whole life, has been the model for resilience: the Earth. So, as I mused on its existence from the comfort of my home, I realized something fundamental, something that I had read before in a poem by Atticus, but that never sunk in:

I realized that “life, by its very nature, is brave.”

And I should be too.