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The First Ecosage Circle

Diane Pruneau and André Doyon

It was March 31, 2002. It was just as beautiful outdoors as it had been last week, but way too hot for the season. Mark checked the thermometer in the window of his bedroom: 30 degrees Celsius! Who would have thought of weather like this, in Spring, and in the Atlantic provinces! What could a person do to cool off? The swimming pools certainly weren't open. Mark decided to spend some time in one of his favourite places: downstairs.

He went down the stairs slowly, and headed, as usual, to his grandfather's big soft chair, to read a good book. It was cool downstairs and Mark was so comfortable he soon fell asleep, all curled up in the old chair, coloured in an aboriginal motif. Awakening some time later, Mark noticed that, while he was sleeping, his chair had moved into an almost reclining position. Surprised, Mark got up to study this situation. He hadn't known that his favourite chair could go into that position. He noticed that the back, without being broken, was lower than usual. Upon closer inspection, he spied a yellowed book, stuck between the back and the seat of the chair. Mark tugged at the book to dislodge it.

He opened the book, which was handwritten on paper resembling the bark of a tree. He was very surprised to note that the text was addressed to him: "Mark, I'm so happy that you have finally found this manuscript…you, my only descendant! Mark, you are destined to become an Ecosage, a person whose mission is to rescue the planet from the great heat! The bunchberry will accompany you in your travels. All in good time, you will receive more information. Okida."

UpMark read and reread the sentences in the book. The writing covered one page and disappointingly, the other pages were empty. Mark took the book into his bedroom to consider this situation. The next day, upon questioning his mother, he learned that his grandfather was of First Nations descent. He did not mention the book. He kept asking himself about the message written to him. Ecosage…the great heat of the Earth…what was this all about?

He had heard on the news that the Earth was getting warmer in certain regions and it was cooling off in other spots. Was this the phenomenon that his grandfather was talking to him about? He remembered the bunchberry and took off to the woods to find a good specimen.

Returning to his room, he opened the old book again and gently laid the bunchberry between two pages. To his great surprise, words began to appear on the formerly empty pages. We, the First Nations, were very attached to Mother Earth. We could feel the Earth and protect her, and, in return, she protected us and gave us the things we needed in order to live. We lived in harmony with Nature. Modern life has separated people from Nature. The First Nations have practically disappeared from the planet and our numbers are too few to protect the Earth. We need help and it is now up to a new race of humans to make their contribution. You are a part of this race called Ecosage. Mark you are an Ecosage. You have the wisdom, the sense of observation, the intelligence and the heart to succeed…Take the time to get more acquainted with the Earth and you will understand what you need to do…" And then, there was no more writing on the following pages.

Mark, who, of course, wanted to know more, decided to go sit in the woods nearby, to think. His mother had taught him how to connect nature. He was to sit quietly in nature, in his own special place (near a particular tree, a river or a big rock), to trust his heart, and to let all his feelings, impressions and thoughts rise up in himself. This is just what he did, surrounded by a little island of bunchberry, near a giant pine tree planted long ago by his grandfather. In a short time, his attention was attracted to some nearby Labrador Tea, a spring plant, which had bloomed earlier than usual this year. The tea leaves were yellowish and drier than normal. The bunchberry was also dry and seemed to be suffering from some unknown illness. The soil didn't have its usual humid smell. He felt a sudden heat coming from the Earth and then he felt the pain and the stress that Mother Nature had been experiencing in recent years. Things were not as they had been and living things did not know how to adapt to these sudden changes. The air felt heavy and he felt bad. He got up and headed for home.

UpFor several days, he thought about his experience and what he'd felt in the woods. He had been affected by the distress of the Earth and he didn't know what he could do to help it. On top of this, his grandfather's book obstinately refused to give him new information. Finally, he shared his adventure with his friend Melissa, who always dressed in the same colours as the bunchberry. Melissa, the scientist, explained things to him in her own way: "It's very simple Mark! The Earth is like my mother. She's in menopause! She is having hot flashes! Her menopause is very difficult because the poor Earth has been badly treated these last few hundred years: bombarded with carbon dioxide (CO2), with methane (CH4) and other gases. If we don't look after the Earth, she will feel even worse and she might even gradually die. But, we can do things…how would you feel about helping her to rest for a while?

Mark smiled at Melissa. He now understood his mission as an Ecosage. The two friends began looking for solutions to help the Earth: the Ecosage circle was born. That very day, new words appeared in his grandfather's book. It was the Charter of the Ecosage circle. It read: " An Ecosage commits to protect the Earth's climatic balance and to HER, dedicates, his or her heart, head and sense of observation. He or she collaborates with Mother Nature and with the other members of his or her community. He or she speaks with the heart, respects differences and is open to new ideas. An Ecosage acts and shows persistence."

Perhaps you too are an Ecosage but have yet to discover this…Perhaps you have ideas about how to help the Earth rest…Perhaps you are ready to act, with others….

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