Elemental Magic - Earth
A stream of consciousness piece on Earth.
Earth is home. Home is where reality takes shape, where we start planting our roots. We start out as saplings looking up to the full-grown trees who are familiar with Earth and her nurturing ways. They seem proud of how far they've come. They seem invincible, so we believe them when they tell us that we will grow higher than they have, that we're destined to be even closer to the sun.
Then we learn about how stressful growth is. Our sapling form starts protruding from the soil; our roots are deeper, but also farther away. We go through these strange phases, learning what to do with our new branches, leaves, petals, fruit, whatever you may see yourself blossoming. It's a strange time, and it gets stranger when you see the other saplings growing differently. It leaves you curious, maybe terrified, but you'll inevitably compare and contrast and wonder about reality's most common questions: What is the right way to grow? What is the wrong way to grow?
We look up to the full-grown trees again because they have all the answers. They've always been trustworthy as long as the sunshine glistens through their leaves. You barrage them with questions about life on Earth, then notice a dim in their glorious light. You get a peek of the rot inside their branches. You're afraid to get too close; the parasites living in them might infect you. Some full-grown trees may lash out at you, damning you for asking such questions, but there will be others humble enough to show you their long-worn scars and tell you their stories. If you listen, their wisdom will outshine what you feared before. However, Earth teaches us that even the trees who lash out violently over their reopened scars are teachers in their own way.
That rawness in nature is a beautiful spectrum of perception and subjectivity, a waltz of polarity, and an exploration of objectivity. Earth is still home, but seconds as an obstacle course, a sparring match, a party, a competitive game. The momentum of all this activity on Earth forces us into a strange growth spurt. It's a storm of intrigue, but it's inevitably painful. You start to see rot inside yourself. Will you lash out or will you make it into a story? One or the other, both or neither. The rot is still there. Earth knew this would happen.
Earth is home and the base shape of our reality. She is a tangible truth not to be ignored. However, that truth can inspire ambition, plans, and goals that help us feel more in control of the unstoppable forces, like the rot. You see the full-grown trees are living in a civilized order, though they may not always seem civilized themselves. You can't control the way you've grown, the young foliage you've evolved to, but you see how others have learned to design the shape, color, and size of their leaves and petals. Some are soft and translucent, some are prickly and conservative, some are flexible and so wispy they fall off their branches, some are vibrant and hypnotic, some are subtle, hoping to be lost, and there are so many others that you can't exactly label, but you get the sense that even if you did have a label for their appearance, it wouldn't fit them perfectly. You can't even define yourself perfectly, but you do have the power of design and ambition like everyone else. Earth has introduced you to the truth of reality and your part to play in it. The moment you discover the power of design is the moment you realize your inevitable growth isn't meant to make you powerless. This is reality manifested by your design and everyone else's.
Through design and creation, you also learn about those who are connected to destruction and death. Earth is familiar with this of course, because it's part of reality, as she is. Because you are not a sapling at this point, but have not yet reached your peak, you've lived long enough to witness death in its various forms. Death is a bittersweet kiss saying goodbye and releasing its grip so new creation can occur. New saplings appear simultaneously with the psychopomps carrying old and young growing things away. You look up at those full-grown trees, the ones you've listened to all these years. The sun doesn't shine as brightly through their leaves anymore. You're not sure if the sun is simply fading because death is closing in or if you decreased the value of the sun's shine after learning about Earth's paradoxical ways.
You've seen how Earth allows new things to grow and old things to die. You've seen how Earth watches new things die quickly and old things begging for death because they're suffering. As you witness this, it may feel like you're on the outside looking in, but Earth taps on your shoulder and whispers that you're in the mix, you're part of the flow; everything you are and the forces around you are inevitable. Earth is home, reality, and naturally paradoxical. Because she embraces her multifaceted ways, she is grounded, nurturing, cheering on new saplings, guiding them to new life, and escorting them to their end. She spins through the cosmos like the wheel of fortune spins in the collective consciousness of the living.
Once you become like the full-grown trees, there's a stronger sense of accountability whether you've let reality set in or not. That accountability can haunt you or empower you. You may be tempted to claim you were damned from the start, that Earth and her ways orchestrated it all just to curse you out of the billions of lifeforms experiencing reality similarly and differently. Earth is a tangible reality and you know you would need tangible evidence for your claim of damnation to have enough girth to catch the eye of the universe and convince it to change its flow to accommodate you. As the flow continues, seemingly connected to all and detached all at once, you see the varying influences of design on Earth. You may dualistically label them as superior and inferior or become aligned with the forces of chaos seeing actions and reactions feed off one another constantly or you may see design as neutrally as you can simply calling it inevitable.
Earth is home, the base shape of reality, a tangible truth, an inevitable, paradoxical design. She is this way naturally, and because she is your nurturer, your teacher, your guide, and your reaper, you have much in common with her.
You are a full-grown being, still her child, but with enough experience in your roots and enough stories etched in your skin that you become grounded enough to know yourself and accept that you don't know everything. You are now capable of parenting your inner child, and this makes Earth smile, but she's still your mother. She whispers to your roots to remind you of your power when you have those forgetful moments in a storm of contemplation. You recall your beginnings, the new saplings mirrors of yourself, and you see the full-grown trees you looked up to before being neither taller nor shorter than you, considering every design of someone's growth is different. The tangible truth, the immediate and constant reality of Earth as home finally sinks in. Earth, just as she is, may bring you to such a peaceful rest, that life and death marry inside you; their love and hers glow at their brightest the day you don't wake up.