Just recently I heard about a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary in which over 120 words about nature have been slashed out of the book.
The publishers made this choice because they no longer thought that these words are relevant to ‘modern day childhood’
The deletions included:
kingfisher and willow.
The words taking their places in the new edition included:
cut-and-paste and voice-mail.
National Tree Day was established over 20 years ago and has been witness to the planting of 22.3 million trees.
All of these trees have names. Devil’s Peak Mallee, Ghost Mallee, Honey Box….
My Grandpa, a timber worker with Clydesdale and axe, in the great Black Forests of the Daylesford dark, knew these trees by name and would call them out as we travelled through the bush. This would delight me. It seemed a holy thing. To know the names of trees!
If we look back to one of the first stories from our tradition the story of Adam naming creation we are struck by the simple power that God is giving the human in the story..
‘Here’ God is saying:
‘Name this, know this, love this, take responsibility for this’.
And yet, this ‘taking responsibility’ is exactly what so many of us seem to find so difficult to do. We get paralysed by the overwhelming loss that looms ahead of us and so we turn away in a type of apathetic numbness.
The challenge of climate change in particular –
is that, unlike belching coal or blackened lakes- it is, in a way, invisible.
So if we can’t see it and we no longer have language (bluebell, mink whale, pink heath) for the creatures and landscapes, that it is destroying, then maybe, it is nor really there. And it is not until climate change becomes local and specific and named that we pay attention.
‘The reef’ we cry, ‘the reef’…even though it has been dying for years.
My 12 year old wakes at night with dreams of pollution, of black skies and of hot winds.
So this Sunday, with other folk from all over Australia, we shall go and plant a tree.
And we will learn its name and we will bless it. This will be our worship. This will be part of her ‘modern day childhood’.
This will be part of our prophetic act of love. Will you join us?