Op “Earthday” voel ik mij als aardbewoner vooral kwetsbaar en schuldig. Ik voel verdriet en rouw hoe we met de aarde zijn omgegaan. Ik begin met mijzelf: mea culpa. Door hebzucht, onvermogen en strijd hebben velen de gevolgschade voor de natuur (waar mensen deel vanuit maken) uit het oog verloren. We buiten de aarde, vooral in het westen, uit. We hebben de vraag van moeder aarde om de “gouden kracht” te ontdekken nog niet werkelijk begrepen (zie verhaal hieronder).
Wat als we de aarde niet meer zouden zien als ons bezit, maar als een gelijke, zelfs een geliefde? Eerst dachten we dat de aarde plat was en dat de aarde het centrum van het universum was. Het is tijd voor een nieuw paradigmashift mbt de mens zélf: “It’s time to come down off our high horses and admit we are wrong. We have to go back to basic”. Het is tijd voor het Symbioceen: een tijdperk waarin mens, natuur en technologie samen een nieuwe balans weten te vinden.
In 2019 schreef ik onderstaand verhaal voor jongeren, voor Earth Day in het Engels vertaald. Het is nog steeds actueel:
There is plenty of sun and moon
Two extraordinary birds are born in the shadow of twinkling stars. One has golden feathers, and yellow rays coming out of its head. It is called the sunbird; its head shines like the sun.
The other bird has bright blue feathers, and an orange light on its head. It is called the moonbird. Its head shines like the moon.
Mother Earth calls the two birds. She tells them: ‘A golden force is hidden on earth. As you are both able to see everything through your bird’s eyes – the stars, the sun, the moon and the earth – I am asking you to help me find this golden force, and spread it around.’
Mother Earth gives the birds a few clues to find the golden force: It is invisible, yet tangible.
It is hidden, yet traceable everywhere
The most beautiful part sits at its core – just like inside an egg. Therefore, you cannot see it from the outside.
The force makes not just one of you better, it brings out the best in both of you. If you find it, you will be rewarded.’
The sunbird and moonbird discuss what Mother Earth just told them.
The sunbird says: ‘What do you think Mother Earth meant? I think we should look for a golden magic egg. Inside that egg we will find enough gold for both our livelihoods!’
The moonbird says: ‘I think we should be looking for a golden city, where birds rule. So we determine ourselves what we want to do. We could decide to sleep all day long if we wanted! If you look for a golden egg in every bird’s nest you can find, I will look for a golden bird city.’
They search everywhere, but do not find a single golden egg or golden city. The hunt leaves them both exhausted.
One day, when once again they did not find anything, they start arguing. The sunbird chirps: ‘You have to help me find the golden egg!’
The moonbird replies: ‘No, you are wrong in thinking that is the solution! We must search for the golden city instead. That is where the gold is!’
The sunbird cries out: ‘You want to bet I am right? It is a golden egg!’
The moonbird shouts: ‘No, it is a golden city! You want to bet I am right? They both want to win. That is why they agree to hold a competition. The bird who finds the golden force first is right and will receive all the gold as the prize.
‘Ready, set, go! The sunbird yells.
But before it can get started, the moonbird already put a cage of willow branches around it. De moonbird laughs: ‘Hahaha, this will teach you! You always think you know better, but I am right! Now you cannot bother me anymore so I can hunt for the golden city in peace.
De sunbird tries to escape, but it is captured and cannot go anywhere!
Mother Earth is keeping quiet to see how this will end.
De sunbird wants to get back at the moonbird, but does not know how. Suddenly, an idea pops into its head. Unable to move around, it shouts to the wind: ‘Wind, could you please blow away the moonbird? And while you are at it, could you blow on the cage branches too? Then I can find the golden egg and I will give you a share of the gold as your reward!’
The wind is flattered to be asked and it is starting to hurl. The storm blows the leaves of the oak tree and the squirrels flee. Gusts of wind tear branches off the trees. A bolt of lightning strikes violently. The moonbird does not care. It flew away, seeking shelter close by the moon.
The willow branches are swinging back and forth with the storm. The cage stands. The sunbird is still locked up.
The argument between the birds leaves Mother Earth quite startled. She is holding her breath. When the storm has subsided, the moonbird sneers: ‘You stupid sunbird, now do you see I am the smartest! I will find the gold! It builds a second cage around the sunbird just to be sure, this time made of clay.
The sunbird no longer knows what to do. It starts to scold the moonbird, screaming at the top of its lungs: ‘Go away with your ugly, orange toupée, you smell of tooth decay!’ And it adds: ‘Mooncheat, I will have you beat!’
The moonbird feels ridiculed and gets upset. He is thinking to itself: if you ask the wind, I will ask the cold. He asks the cold to arrange for snow and ice so that the sunbird freezes. That will teach him!
The cold feels very proud and honored. It arranges deep frost and a snowstorm. Soon the earth is entirely frozen. The animals can no longer find food and get stomach aches from hunger. The sunbird turns blue from the cold and its head barely gives light anymore.
Mother Earth cries at the sunbird and moonbird: ‘Stop! Stop that! Surely you see that this is not working!”
But the sunbird and moonbird are only focused on each other and do not hear her. It is as if there is snow stuck in their birdears.
The sunbird is feeling feeble. What is it to do?
Suddenly, another idea pops into its head. It asks the rain to arrange for a downpour causing the earth to flood all around. Then the moonbird can no longer search for the gold once its’ soaked wings stop him from being able to fly!
At first the rain refuses, but this angers the sunbird. ‘Would you like to pick a fight with me too? He threatens the rain. The rain does not want that and so he gives in.
A downpour more severe than ever before falls from heaven. The animals hide high up in the trees so that they do not drown. The moonbird does not care. This time it flies far away towards the sun. Mother Earth is flooded, and no longer able to speak.
The sunbird thinks it is clever by making its cage watertight. It makes the cage as hard as stone. It shouts to the moonbird: ‘I am safe and dry here behind a stone wall, none of that rain affects me! Now that I cannot find the gold, I will make sure you will not be able to find it either, because you will drown if you try. I am in charge, so surrender!’
But then the sunbird, horrified, watches the rain coming in through an opening, from the ceiling down the wall.
The water rises higher and higher. The sunbird had not anticipated the rain bothering him too. The water has already risen up to its beak! Now It can only breathe through its nostrils, and suddenly it is petrified. It realizes what it has done to itself, and feels powerless. The competition brought out the worst in him! It will die, hidden behind the stone wall.
It is starting to feel so very sorry and says softly: ‘Okay, I am not able to stand this…I give up…’ And then it shrieks: ‘Have mercy, you can have all the gold. Or does anyone have a better idea?
At that moment, the singing of a kingfisher sounds through from afar. The sunbird tilts its head slightly so it can hear it properly. What an exquisite, high voice! It sounds like music to its ears.
The sunbird is beginning to shine a little again. Some of its golden rays gleam through the cage opening.
Attracted by the sunbird’s golden rays, the kingfisher chirps again – this time from up close. The sunbird’s head warms up so much by the magical sound that it causes the rain water around it to evaporate. The water level lowers as a result. Out of joy, the sunbird feels even warmer. More and more sunbeams shoot through the cage opening.
The kingfisher crawls through the opening to see where those sunbeams come from.
The sunbird has never seen a bird this gorgeous before, with bright blue and golden-orange feathers, a long beak and coal-black, gleaming eyes. It is beginning to glow from top to bottom now!
Thanks to the warmth, the sunbird is getting its strength back. It demolishes the wall bit by bit. Meanwhile, the kingfisher has flown to a sturdy tree and looks at the sunbird confidently. The sunbird feels strengthened by this.
The last parts of the wall are washed away by a final wave of rainwater. The sunbird braces itself and miraculously manages to stand firmly on its feet.
Finally, it is free again and looks around. It observes the state Mother Earth is in now. Mother Earth looks brown, devastated and aghast. The sunbird feels guilty and looks down ashamed. It feels remorse over all that animosity.
The moonbird has been listening and watching dead quietly. It too has seen how poorly Mother Earth is doing and says to himself softly: ‘Oops, this is not what I wanted, this makes everything worse for all…I really don’t know anymore, I give up too…’ And then the moonbird screeches: ‘Have mercy, I was wrong, you can have all the gold!’
All of a sudden it is starting to drizzle. The sun is beginning to shine at the same time. A magnificent rainbow emerges on the horizon. It is as if the rainbow touches the kingfisher. It changes from bright blue into golden-blue!
The kingfisher shakes its feathers and the raindrops it spreads look like gold! The soft, golden raindrops touch Mother Earth and – like magic – turn her into a summer landscape with that one touch: fresh-green blades of grass, blossoms on trees, and flowers in a thousand colors.
Beaming, the kingfisher sings:
Gold from sun- and moonshine
Gives us the strength to be sweet and fine So that we rise and newly begin
Instead of always wanting to win
For those of us who want to hear
We are born in the light of a star so clear
The sun warms, the moon strengthens with all its might The earth takes care of us, day and night
Light and dark will always be around
But here is the secret we have found What you do with it is what it is all about The one you nurture has the most clout
You can always begin anew
As the gentle force comes from within you It is never too late nor too soon
There is plenty of sun and moon
In the silence that follows, the sunbird and moonbird gaze in each other’s eyes. Then the moonbird says very softly: ‘I only wanted to be the strongest because I did not consider myself good enough. I was hoping that I would find the gold by myself. Then everybody would finally think of me as a hero.’
The sunbird says: ‘I am sorry for wanting to hurt you. When you locked me up in that cage, I got livid. I had actually forgotten what started the competition. I just wanted to fight back!’ When I could not beat you, I just built a wall around myself. I thought: ‘I can ignore you and pretend you are not there.’
‘I am sorry for what I did to you too’, says the moonbird. ‘We did not want happiness, but we wanted to be right! But how can we start over now?’
‘I got it!’ the sunbird cries out. ‘What if we regard Mother Earth as one big egg! All forms of life stem from that. By looking after the egg, we look after each other!
‘Yes, that is a great idea! calls the moonbird. Let’ fly around the earth in circles! And we will sing the kingfisher’s song to all who want to hear it!’
And you know what is crazy: the sunbird and moonbird never think to ask Mother Earth for their reward anymore. They no longer need it. The gold is already tangible, very near.
And what happens if the birds resume fighting in the future? With a bit of luck they will quickly remember the gentle, golden force!’