• Allison Pelyhes

Earth Week Reflection

Yesterday morning, my inbox was flooded with a chain of images of my grandfather greeting a heron in his back yard. A Michigander through and through, his love of the lake and fresh air, boating and sailing, and the work of tending weeds in the garden and seaweed on the shore planted him in a home on Green Lake. The picture made me laugh, it made me cry, it bared shocking resemblance to characters in Disney's UP!. Grandpa told us, "I have seen cranes in Florida a lot as I drive near the library. Never been this close to one. It was almost tame and I almost tried to pet it." You could read his awe through the email.


My Grandpa, who will answer to no other name but Grandpa, reminded us of incredible respect for nature and the inevitable dependence we have on our earth and our neighbors. The sea critters, the fungae, the birds and the bees, the pets, the trees, and the winds. Their existence and care is celebrated this Earth Week.


I'm sure many of us are longing to be out in nature today, to be listening to outdoor concerts, or playing frisbee with friends, or swimming at the beach, or hugging some trees. Some of us privileged few can still do these things. Others, lie on beds, looking at ceilings which jail them in their studios in New York or Chicago or Miami or an isolated hospital room anywhere in the country. Perhaps the only known we have right now is that the ground is still ground, the sky is still blue, and the water is still wet. As the pandemic changes us, the planet still spins.


I wonder if today and this week we could join with the earth and with each other in thankfulness and awe that the earth keeps on giving, processes are still taking place which our human existence could have (and still can) demolished. Rain is still precipitating, evaporating, condensing... (what I gained from my 4th Grade Water cycle schooling). Soil is still giving life to plants and food. The sun is still sending vitamin D -- at least here in NC.


I wonder if today and this week we could join with the earth and with each other in gratefulness for essential plant pickers and gatherers some of whom, migrant workers, are on their hands and knees, bringing home less cash than they need for the week and knowing that their demographic is largely hurting by COVID-19.


I wonder if today and this week we could join with the earth and with each other in respect for the land, for the skies, for the water, and the plants which unify us when we most need to be together. To listen to the needs of the planet as we reassess what our needs will be "post" COVID-19.


I wonder if today and this week we could join with the earth and with each other in knowing that this pandemic, this moment, is truly a wilderness. Perhaps, the wilderness and wonder of our earth can hold some place for us to grieve, to learn, and to listen. Let the beauty of wilderness be a bountiful offering to ease our pains and offer sustenance.


I wonder if today and this week we could join with the earth and with each other in respect for our neighbors, plant, animal, and otherwise, as my Grandpa bows to the heron.


Let us pray...


We join with the earth and with each other

to Bring new life to the land

to restore the waters

to refresh the air


We join with the earth and with each other

to renew the forests

to care for the plants

to protect the creatures

We join with the earth and with each other

to celebrate the seas

to rejoice in the sunlight

to sing the song of the stars


We join with the earth and with each other

to recreate the human community

to promote justice and peace

to remember our children of the earth


We join with the earth and with each other

we join together as many diverse expressions of loving one mystery: for the healing of the earth and the renewal of all life


(This adapted from U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program)


For more on Earth Week at Elon: https://www.elon.edu/u/bft/sustainability/get-involved/live-sustainably/earth-week/


Official Earth day is tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22.





Allison Pelyhes is in her first year at Elon University as Multifaith Coordinator at the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. In her role, Allison oversees Numen Lumen, a cohort of Interfaith interns, and the Interfaith House LLC. A recent graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, Allison is thrilled to take her passion for interfaith communities and education to another campus. While at Hope, Allison received a dual Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Sociology with a minor in Peace and Justice Studies. In addition, she studied abroad in Muscat, Oman where she worked at the Al Amana Centre, an NGO devoted to Muslim-Christian relations within the Sultanate.

Contact: apelyhes@elon.edu


The Truitt Center - Numen Lumen Pavilion 

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Elon, NC 27244

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truittcenter@elon.edu

https://www.elon.edu/u/truitt-center