After birthing the creatures of Earth, Mama Gaia convened a Council of All Beings. Winged ones, two-leggeds, four-leggeds, creepy crawlies and swimmers of all sorts came from around the globe and convened their council amidst a garden of flowers, trees, cacti, and fungi.

Whale was first to speak. He told tales of the mysterious ocean depths and praised the fluid gifts of water… always in motion, transforming, soothing, healing, and cleansing. Feeling inspired, Snail raised her tiny voice squeaking, “Water is life!” A group of frogs joined the chorus croaking, “Water is life! Water is life!”

Cactus, his prickly arms all akimbo, raised his hand, “I’m fine with a sprinkle of rain now and then, but I’m afraid there’s going to be a terrible storm. I’ve heard it’s going to rain and rain for forty days and forty nights, and the Earth will be totally flooded. You swimmy-things might think that’s great, but it sounds like the end of the world to me.”

Sunflower nodded in agreement, “No sun for forty days? I’ll go crazy!”

Giraffe began to tremble, her long legs wobbling with fear. “I can’t swim! I’ll drown!” she cried.

A human stepped forward with a plan. “We’ll build a huge cruise ship,” he said, “And you’re all welcome to come aboard.” 

The land-lovers in the group exhaled a big sigh of relief until Dog raised a concern. “You better not allow bats on the boat,” he barked, “Bats are evil. They suck your blood, give you rabies, and spread the corona plague. Bring the bats and we’re all gonna die.”

“Death? Did someone say something about death?” Vulture swooped in to join the conversation. “I think death is beautiful. It’s a natural part of the cycle of life. It’s a powerful transformation in consciousness…a profound journey from one realm to the next.”

Deer, who was usually quite timid, confronted Vulture. “You creepy buzzard! You circle around just waiting for something to die.” 

Squirrel joined the attack, “You eat dead smelly things. You’re the scum of the earth you lousy scavenger!”

“But don’t you believe in recycling?” Vulture asked innocently.

The guy with the plan for a cruise ship glared at Vulture. “Buddy, we humans despise death. Now get your stinky ass outta here!”

Owl, who was much respected for her wisdom, slowly blinked, turned her head and hooted out a dire prophecy:

There will come a time when humans will populate the earth in vast numbers.They will fill our air with poison fumes and foul our waters with noxious wastes.They will drain wetlands and flatten forests to build their houses, and they will smother our sacred ground with concrete roads and crowded cities. Fires will rage, ice sheets will melt, and many MANY of us will perish.

“Fake news!” bellowed Bullfrog.

“Fake news! Fake news!” echoed the frog chorus.

“Wacko conspiracy theory! Don’t believe anything that crazy owl says,” ranted Raccoon.

“But what if Owl is right?” asked Armadillo, “I believe we have the right to protect ourselves. I think we should close the borders… build a wall… ban all humans.”

Cockroach slipped into the center of the circle unnoticed. “I’m not worried,” he boasted, “The cockroach shall inherit the earth!”

“Enough is enough!” exclaimed Mama Gaia, “Come my beloveds and look over here.” She pointed to a lovely web that Spider had spun in silence while all the other creatures were arguing about floods and border walls and gloom and doom. “Each one of you is precious to me,” said Gaia, “You are all interconnected and each of you is an essential part of the great Web of Life.”

Then Mama Gaia sprinkled the web with drops of fresh dew. The droplets sparkled in the morning sun like jewels. “Look closely,” she said, “Each drop holds a reflection of the entire web. Each drop reflects every other drop just as you are mirrors for each other. Each one of you holds all of creation within yourself. You are the Many and the One, all at the same time.”

Mama Gaia looked into the eyes of each council member, one-by-one. “It is my great joy to look out through your eyes and see the world from each of your points of view. May you also be willing to look through each other’s eyes. May you listen to each other with curiosity, respect and compassion. Your shared wisdom holds all of the answers you’ll ever need.”

And then Mama Gaia gathered them into her arms in a giant planetary hug.