We all like the flower of the rosebush, but many of us see the roots as ugly.
We like the perfume of the rose, but dislike its thorns.
Yet, roots, thorns, flower, and perfume are all parts of the rose.
The rose exists not only to please us and certain insects that share our infatuation for its flower; it exists to celebrate the joy of life in its own way: by blooming. A holistic love for the rose appreciates not only its seductive flower and alluring perfume, but the whole plant.
Love seems to function that way—through seduction by a part, toward seeing and valuing the whole. Ditto for romantic love: it often progresses along the same lines. If the journey lasts long enough, some of us learn to grok the reasons for the thorns and the roots. Anyway, this seems to me to be as good a generalization as any.

When we talk about life, we are talking about life on Earth. Life and Earth are near-synonyms for us. We don’t know what life would be like on other planets—perhaps there’s a planet out there where we all continue to grow taller day after day until we reach the sky, like the bean plant in Jack and the Beanstalk.
Anyway, life on Earth is like the rosebush with its thorns and flowers, its roots and perfume. And Earth is Life—there’s no life without the Earth. We’re alive only because the Earth is alive.

Love is not only an abstract notion, it is an embodied feeling—we love with mind and body. We do not love a planet that’s a thousand light years away. Our body does not relate to it.
A holistic view of the Earth understands that the whole is bigger than its parts. We can see that when we look at our own body: a human being is more than a jumble of organs, fingers, and toes.
Let’s also see the Earth in the same way; she is more than real estate for houses, land for factory farming, and water for showers and swimming pools.
Identity? Let’s see ourselves as Earthlings first, and as Canadians, Québécois, men, and women second. Seeing ourselves as Earthlings emphasizes our commonality rather than our differences, and draws us closer. Secondary identities such as Israeli or Palestinian, Russian or Ukrainian pull us apart.

The historic Buddha woke up to the oneness, the interbeing nature of all things.
Let’s wake up now to the fact that how we do everyday things such as the laundry, eating, or driving also have an effect on the well-being of the Earth.
Impermanence makes love urgent, and the wisdom of interbeing makes love all-embracing. Let us shop, drive, and eat with love for the Earth in our hearts.
Let us wear our clothes till they become old and not only till they become boring.
And let us find ways to be not only a burden, but a gift to the Earth. .

Consider starting a car trip by singing the following words
to the tune of “Row, row, row your boat”:

Roll, roll, roll along, gently down the street,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, this drive is a treat.
Drive on down the street, flowing like a stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

Lightly, like a kite, let your spirits lift,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, each day is a gift,
Through the neighbourhood gently make your way,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, have a pleasant day.

REVERENCE IS THE NATURE OF MY LOVE is a calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh that I saw at the Plum Village store. I was so taken by it that I stood there looking at it until the store closed for the day. Afterwards I kept repeating the words to myself until it became a love song for the Earth.
It is part of the Basket of Plums collection available from Parallax Press.
Emily King is the singer. (click here to listen).

Reverence is the nature of my love, my love,
Reverence is the nature of my love.
I bow to the bushes, I bow to the flowers,
I bow to the singing birds in the trees,
I bow to the mountains, I bow to the rivers,
I bow to the dancing bees.

For another musical meditation on love for the Earth,
click here to listen

These songs nourished my determination when I became the representative of the
Extinction Rebellion movement for my region, spoke with city officials, printed t-shirts,
and marched with other environmentalist groups in Montreal.