Introduction to the
Summer is when the crops we planned in the winter and planted in the spring ripen toward their harvest. It is our hope that some of the articles, poems, or prose pieces you read here might act as a catalyst in your thinking, moving you to some new way of thinking about the relationship between humans and the world we live in.
For the first time, I asked contributors to this issue to gather their thoughts around a central theme - dreams and visions. Dreams can invade our nighttime sleep, with images that frighten us deeply. They can curl up around us during the day when we take pause from our normal activities - a moment when we stop rushing from task to task. And they can propel us forward, holding out to us a hope of what we can build if we apply will to our inspiration.
You will find all of those kinds of dreams and visions here: those that frighten, those that entice, those that inspire. It is in listening to these dreams, both the night-time and day-time variety, that we can begin to hear what the earth - and all the creatures that share this planet with us - are saying to us. Dreams are not, I believe, the detritus of our daytime lives, but deep communications, from our souls, from the community of creatures - the earth community Thomas Berry would say - and from the earth itself. It is by attending to these dreams and visions - both the frightening and the inspiring - that we can begin to open our hearts, minds and souls to the communication from the earth. That we can, perhaps, begin to dream the dream the earth itself is dreaming.
We all know that the times we live in are critical: many of us are suffering in drought, others in unusually heavy - and early - monsoons. In the United States, tens of thousands of acres of forest are burning, while temperatures reach record highs. The Arctic ice-cap is melting, icebergs in Greenland calve, while glaciers all over the world - including high in the Andean mountains - recede at a frightening pace.
We do a grave injury to ourselves and all creatures if we ignore these cries of distress from our earth. Instead, we must listen deeply - more deeply than humans have ever listened before - to what the earth is saying. And we must gather courage to transform our destructive relationship into one that is mutually enhancing to us all. Let us all begin to dream deeply of a future in which there is room for all - all that flies, swims, crawls, or walks upon the earth.
My thanks go to all those that contributed to this issue and to those in the ecopsychology discussion group that have helped moved our thinking a little bit forward. A special thanks to the ICEworks team that read and proofed this issue of Gatherings, especially John Scull and Robert Worcester.
Enjoy. Wrap yourself in dreams and visions. And know that by doing so, you are dreaming the dream of all the earth.