Elemental

Art by James Graham, Rowan Gabrielle, Stu Jenks,
Jackie Abey and Jill Smallcombe

What are you? What am I? Intersecting cycles of water, earth, air and fire, that’s what I am, that’s what you are.

Water — blood, lymph, mucus, sweat, tears, inner oceans tugged by the moon, tides within and tides without. Streaming fluids floating our cells, washing and nourishing through endless riverways of gut and vein and capillary. Moisture pouring in and through and out of you, of me, in the vast poem of the hydrological cycle. You are that. I am that.

Earth — matter made from rock and soil. It too is pulled by the moon as the magnet circulates through the planet heart and roots suck molecules into biology. Earth pours through us, replacing each cell in the body every seven years. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we ingest, incorporate and excrete the earth, are made from the earth. I am that. You are that.

Air — the gaseous realm, the atmosphere, the planet’s membrane. The inhale and the exhale. Breathing out carbon dioxide to the trees and breathing in their fresh exudations. Oxygen kissing each cell awake, atoms dancing in orderly metabolism, interpenetrating. The dance of the air cycle, breathing the universe in and out again, is what you are, is what I am.

Fire — fire from our sun that fuels all life, drawing up plants and raising the waters to the sky to fall again replenishing. The inner furnace of your metabolism burns with the fire of the Big Bang that first sent matter–energy spinning through space and time. And the same fire as the lightning that flashed into the primordial soup catalyzing the birth of organic life.

You were there, I was there, for each cell in our bodies is descended in an unbroken chain from that event.

—John Seed and Joanna Macy