Earth meets sky. Soil below and atmosphere above. How deceptively simple and unremarkable. The ground under our feet, more than dirt; the few vertical feet of space we occupy from which we take our in-spiration, more than air.
We live in such precarious indifference to the health of both, taking for granted that the soil perpetually yields its trace elements as if all its mix of macronutrients were constantly and spontaneously created from the invisible gases above. The thin air over our heads that we acknowledge only when it moves the wet leaves in a summer storm we mind even less–so vast and immutable, big as the sky–the biggest thing we think of as children to express unspeakable expanse and omnipresence.
For all our technology, all our vast library of learning and mastery over some small details of nature that have made us healthier, richer, and seemingly autonomous beings–we still are subject to basic physics and chemistry. The smartest man still falls to the laws of gravity. The most sophisticated society still staggers when its soil is depleted of nutrients that cycle from the useful to the useless down the gradient of entropy, from farmland to wasteland, from humus to ocean sediments.
There are so many of us now and we ask so much of the land–so much that we spoil both soil and air. Either our numbers will fall or our relationship to soil and air will change. The earth has its ways of making it so. So, too, does humankind should we decide in time to correct our sins of injury to the horizontal and the vertical of our collective lives.
Life goes on. The barn rots from below, rusts from above, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But for now, it is still standing. And so are we. What will we do today to shore up the roof over our heads, the foundation of earth we live on?