It was 32 years ago, almost to the day, that my life and attitude towards nature and my perceived place in this world changed forever! This was the day that my eyes were opened to the wonders of this beautiful world! So how could anyone destroy it?
I had always been a country boy, growing up in the lovely Ayrshire countryside in Scotland. Though as a wee boy, it never occurred to me that anyone would mistreat the land and the soil on which we walked! So from that point of view I knew in myself that I had a deep connection to Mother Earth!
It was only later on in life, when I was working as a charge-hand in Henley in Warwickshire, that I had the chance to go and learn organic gardening, that my eyes truly saw the light!
I used to drive the company box van and take the local workers and go and repair the countryside stiles and bridges and bridle-paths. I loved that job, as it cemented my love for nature and helping people access the countryside!
Out of the blue, or was it by destiny, that I was encouraged by my bosses, to attend this 2 week life changing course on organic gardening in East Grinstead? There was a bunch of us, politely known as “The Midlands guys”, who went to this course.
I learnt so much about nature and agricultural processes and the organic way of life and also how to care for the soil. We had this wonderful teacher from Chile, who was an expert at horticulture, and he would often tell us about how the soil was a living breathing thing.
The problem for him, was that we often or not killed the soil and surroundings by not properly caring for them! “I can hear the earth crying!”, he would often say. “We can’t go on polluting the soil and the earth as if it was just a landfill site!”
When we had finished the course for the day, we would all have dinner in one of the communal halls. This was the first time I ever had to stand up in front of 50 or so people and say grace before the meal! It was up to us what we said, but so long as it was heartfelt as that was what really mattered.
I had never really been much into poetry, until that moment but I found myself with all these words and sentences, just flying into my mind! Somehow I had connected with nature or the universes or just got in touch with my true soul!
I remember later that night, just sitting down and writing and all these words and sentences and they just came pouring out, and they actually rhymed and it felt good! After 2 hours I had created 6 verses of poetry about conserving the planet and what we were doing to it! It was my way of connecting with the earth!
To say that I was amazed would be an understatement indeed! But in those moments I had connected to the invisible aura, as it were and had a rich and deep and powerful experience!
I remember one of the days we were talking about farming principles and also about caring for livestock. They had a magnificent Aberdeen Angus bull in one of the pens where they kept the few animals that they had. This beautiful creature had an almost perfect ginger sheen to it, and so incredibly soft, it was just like stroking a cat. Such a gentle creature and when he looked into my eyes it was if I was transported to another world and I was deeply moved!
So there was definitely an underlying change in my way of thinking and also what was important in life! I had become more in tune with nature and caring for this planet! I had become a lover of life and the beauty of nature, and there was no going back!
I have not had many more eureka moments since that brilliant and eye opening time, but I will always cherish the memory! I always was a country boy, but now the countryside resides in me!
Here is my poem from that time. Now more relevant today than it was when I wrote it 32 years ago!
God Save This Planet!
Do we have a future? Can we see the way?
Shall we live for tomorrow or fight for today?
My planet is dying, the fields they are bare,
Is there anyone up there? Do we really care?
O God save this planet! God save Mother Earth!
The land of our fathers, so bright and so clean,
Is getting so dirty and getting obscene.
A world full of laughter, a world full of fear,
Starvation and crying, No one there to hear!
The youth of tomorrow can’t find the way,
There’s no work for the people, go back, go away,
Our government’s fine, the economy’s sound,
Let’s play the stock market, speculate, look around!
Six million people in Africa’s domain,
Cry out for food, that we throw down the drain,
Let’s stop all this fighting, let’s have no more pain,
We must love one another, we can do it again!
We kill the trees that give us our air,
We rape the land, pollute everywhere,
Am I only dreaming? Is this really true?
Help me my people, I know I’ll help you!
We stand at the crossroads, we’ve run out of time,
It’s now we must act, survive, keep in line!
A land for our children and our fellow man,
Its’ time to stand up, be counted, understand!
O God save this planet! God save Mother Earth!
[Poem by Derek Fraser Crosson, East Grinstead, Nov 1987]