Our Summer Supplement takes the process a bit further as we explore some ways in which we can do this. We’ll begin by observing how creatures most in harmony with Nature and the Divine Feminine—plants and animals—treat each other and compare that with how we humans treat them and ourselves.
The lives of plants and animals move at a slower, more measured pace than those of humans. Darwinian theory postulates competition between and even among species, and business-oriented Western culture uses this theory to justify vicious competition in the market place, in school, and at home. But in reality this is not so. Plants, despite a popular paradigm, don’t compete with each other. If a plant isn’t getting the right amount of sun, water, or nutrients in one place, it doesn’t seek to annihilate its neighbors—it simply moves to another spot (Stephen Harrod Buhner, 2014) As for animals, an innate sense of balance governs their lives. During my years in Galisteo, NM, I discovered that when food is plentiful, female cats will have more and larger litters. When less food is available, the birth of kittens declines. The same female who previously gave birth to a litter of eight kits might have only two in leaner times. (This is true for other mammals as well, including raccoons, skunks, and coyotes, to name a few of the animals I’ve fed.)
We can learn a lot from observing the behaviors of the non-human others (Karen J. Warren, 2000) with whom we share this world. What pleases our favorite tomato plant? More sun? More water? How does our indoor-outdoor female tabby react to a spring snowstorm, in comparison with the feral tom who spent the winter in the garage? What, in their loud and lively conversation, are those sparrows talking about?
FWJ Summer Supplement 2022 explores the lifeways of plants, animals, how humans relate to them, and how we can do so more empathically. We invite you to share your stories with us.