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Returning to Balance

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Rev. Helen G. Rousseau

Sometimes when I travel on roads covered with asphalt, I can almost hear the ground below it crying to me: “My breath fails me, my voice is silenced by noises overhead. My land is barren for lack of sun and rain. I once was rich and beautiful with grasses, flowers, and trees, but progress has been covering these lands, free for millions of years. This does not stop me from springing up whenever I sense a crack in the roads or sidewalks. I seek the fresh air and the warmth of the sun and I endure.”

This quote is taken from the introduction to my most recent book of poetry: Poems for a World on Fire: Meditations on Hope. This past summer, in the rocks around the base of my building, one yellow flower grew up between the rocks. It blossomed for at least a month. I would stop by every day and speak to it and tell it how beautiful it was and how much it made my day. It made me think of courage, boldness and moving through obstacles.

Mother Nature is a teacher if we will listen. She gives us the seasons to remind us that life is cyclical, each season with its own gifts and beauty. She gives us the lightning storms, earthquakes, monsoons, and hurricanes, so we can see destruction and not want to replicate it in our lives with bombs and war. She is the mother protected by Father Sky and they desperately need each other in balance to survive. Father Sky needs his ozone layer to continue protecting us from the destructive rays of the sun. Human beings have come to believe that they can control the gifts the mother generously bestows. As a mother with an unruly child, she has been patient and sent us warning prophets to call us back to her loving heart; but our ears have been closed because we thought we knew better. Now she is sending prophets who are crying loudly against the destructions humans have created. The future will be decided by those who will listen and act for the common good.

The following poem is my attempt to be a voice for the earth, its peoples, animals, trees, oceans, land, and all that makes this planet uniquely our home.

Returning to Balance

Mother earth’s heartbeat,
heard in the ebb and flow
of the ocean, speaks to us
of a failure to honor her gifts:
her family of animals
losing habitat,
rainforests destroyed
for farming, feeding the
hunger for beef.
Coral reefs are dying
because of human
interference that continues
to warm up our only home.

I pray that her heart
continues to beat
with hope as she waits
for humanity to finally
realize what she has
always known:
the laws of nature
are sacred,
must be honored
or suffer the consequences.

Only humility will return
us to balance.

• Text and poem are taken from Poems for a World on Fire: Meditations on Hope. Available at

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