Others take a different point of view and consider one’s time on Earth as simply the current manifestation of a long family of folks who have come before and of those yet to come. That notion would imply that each of us is not so much a “one-off,” but that we’re one link of a larger web of human life.
Nudge that notion a bit farther, and we can imagine ourselves not only within the web of human life. Don’t our relationships extend to Fido and Fluffy, and to the birds at the feeder we keep stocked, and even to that bluegill we caught last week at the lake? Stretch that notion a bit more and consider those veggies you grew this summer. They wouldn’t have flourished without your care. Then they, in turn, nourished you. And what about the fungi and microorganisms on the roots of those veggies and the very soil itself that cradled those plants and promoted their growth? Seems like each one of us is actually part of a much more diverse and expansive web of life here on Earth.
It’s a comforting notion to recognize that I’m not “just passin’ through” like some lonely wanderer traipsing about ON the Earth. Instead, I’m part OF (intertwined with) a vast web of life. That mindset tempers my relationship with every living thing and with the Earthly resources supporting them. Being OF the Earth suggests the need to have a certain level of compassion for oneself and others. It further implies the obligation to prudently use our collective resources and to hold ourselves responsible for any damage we may cause.
Just passin’ through? I don’t think so. We’re all OF this planet. It provides us with endless opportunities and also with the obligation to help build a nurturing world for ourselves and for those who follow. After all, this is the only home we’ll ever know. It’s where we’re all forever… Earthbound.