Some thoughts after being bludgeoned with sales and offers and new and must have and every party should and everyone ought to and nursing bruises that only the internet can inflict.

It occurs to me why out-of-control capitalism (is there another kind?) is destroying the earth. It occurred to me just this morning. This morning, with the sun coming through the window, water boiling, plans to be arranged, an early peek at social media and the ensuing anxiety to be eliminated, a plant spoke to me. I was watering my mint plant. There is the calm involved in considering what the plant needs – a little water, maybe a bit more with the effects of indoor heat and cold and less sun. It’s not much of a plant, bought at Whole Foods on a whim, like most purchases at Whole Foods. It’s peppermint, not spearmint, which I realize I prefer, but it’s valiantly carrying on, despite the times when I forgot to water it – a few close calls there. This morning, it looks particularly green and happy, its little leaves growing in the formation it has been called by the earth to form. And as I held it under the tap for a moment, watching the water drip out the bottom, it occurred to me.

It only needs sun and water. A bit of love. Maybe the odd word of encouragement.

It doesn’t need sales. Nothing on offer is appealing, other than perhaps a larger pot. But it doesn’t need it. The sun rises, and it turns its leaves in that direction, and grows.

No wonder they hate the earth and want to ruin it. Demolish and destroy – until they can claim that the land needs their new inventions to even exist. They tell the population – you need to add, subtract, divide, multiply – and each step has an item to buy that will bury us in either poisons or plastics. No simple fix is interesting. Doctors don’t tell people to go out and touch the trees first thing in the morning, or give up donuts. They sell pills for every ailment that we have induced in ourselves. Thanks to advertising, in America we are incessantly sold both the sickness and the so-called remedy. Now, post-pandemic, they pretend harder that if we don’t buy things, the world will stop. The huge rents that drove people out of shops owned for decades, or beloved neighborhoods – that for a moment during the pandemic, they wished away, nothing to do with it. Nothing to do with the person in the House of Lords in the UK, who fleeced the country for millions over unusable PPE. She has not been evicted from her yacht, and continues to enjoy a life without worrying about heating, rent, or food banks. Because the truth is the opposite. The world will stop if we continue to buy things, if we continue to believe that the simple fix is uninteresting. Plants grow when we leave them alone. We poison everything we need to survive, and they tell us that they have invented a new poison to counteract the old one. We turn in all directions, and they do not stop us, but keep us spinning.

Standing back from it all, they first beckon us in, then try to coax, then finally call us insane, anyone who has had the experience in the morning of looking at a plant, and knowing they are wrong, and the plant is right.

On this Christmas Eve, I make the radical suggestion that you talk to a plant or a tree. A bird, perhaps, or a squirrel. What you say or hear won’t need to be gift wrapped, and you don’t have to wear sequins or an apron or your best shoes. Just listen.