On a day that I was rushing, driving out to Canby, Oregon for an appointment I didn't have (a technology-based miscommunication), I hit and killed a beautiful ground squirrel as it crossed the narrow road from forest patch to forested cliff. All of my internal busyness and rushing screeched to a halt as I pulled the car over to park it on the side of the road, to see who I hit and what I could do.
 
What I could do was: examine its fatal head wound (see the bright red trickle!), carry its warm, soft body in my hands (heavy!), find a spot away from the road and beneath a tree to lay it down, stay with it until its heart stopped beating, circle it in ivy leaves (Winter, no flowers), count the spots on its back, and sob.

When I got back to my car I read the text that said I did not have an appointment that day and all I could think on the thirty minute drive back to Portland, passing rundown buildings, eyesores that are fast food restaurants, road signs selling selling selling and garbage lining the highway, was: “We are a mess of a species, aren't we?”
We are, I think.

Renowned biologist, E.O. Wilson says it best;
“... we thrash about, appallingly led, with no particular goal in mind other than economic growth, unfettered consumption, good health and personal happiness.” *
 
Meanwhile, the earth shudders and quakes, forests burn, species disappear- all at an ever-increasing rate…
 
We humans have this role as stewards, if not because most of the ecological difficulties we’re experiencing are human-caused, but because that's who we are. We are caretakers by nature. A duty that as a species connected to all other living things on this planet, we have (mostly) abused and/or neglected. We also have capacity for greatness and beauty. A calling to responsibility and redemption. I feel this tipping point we are coming to in my heart, in my body, my spirit, in the shifting energy of my work and in the frenetic, tumultuous energy of the world right now (ecologically, politically, socially). I feel the other species we share the planet with turning their gaze to us, as stewards, in our moment, to see; what will we do?

April Coppini
April 2020

*from “Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life” by E.O. Wilson, 2016