Imagining the World in Your Hands


Imagine. Imagine a fine china bowl, hand painted with an image of the world, embellished with forests, grasslands and mountains. The oceans, flowing rivers and streams are brushed with detail and the bowl is adorned with fluttering birds that look as if they are flying overhead. It has been in your family for generations and you love it for its beauty and the history it holds. Somehow, unaware, it slips from your hands, falls to the floor and lies broken. What do you do?

Now imagine another bowl that you hold in your hands, it is the Earth itself. It too is a beautiful hand painted masterpiece, but greenhouse gasses fog the clarity. Melting glaciers and excessive rainfall blur the exquisite strokes of paint. Fine lines are evident from severe drought and a film of smoke from raging fires choke the details. Hurricanes have chipped away at the edges. Tsunami’s roar and the earth quakes in revolt - shaking the bowl from your hands. It falls to the ground and lies in front of you broken. What do you do?

Sometimes it is difficult to personally connect with environmental change. We may feel detached, think that it’s cyclical or that it’s not our problem. But when it becomes personal and you experience Mother Nature’s retaliation first hand, we connect. The truth is we all need air to breathe and water to live. Those two things alone connect and unite us, and give us all a dog in the fight. When we make that connection and realize that like a fine piece of china the natural world too is our heirloom, the answers to both scenarios above become the same.

Without a second thought, we fall to our knees and pick up the pieces carefully, trying to limit any more damage. We gather tape, glue, and other things necessary to piece and secure it back together. We will handle it more carefully now with the knowledge of its fragility. We do not want to part with its beauty or history, and we desperately want to pass it on, intact for future generations. We want them to behold the beauty and to add their hands and layers of history to it, making it even richer and more valuable than we could ever have imagined. Imagine.

In addition to our part, the wildlife of this world are critical to its health. Have a look at the newest soil builders on the Cheyenne River Ranch. 


Story, photos and video by Jill O'Brien


  • Posted on by Janis l Fitschen

    Thank you once again. If only we can make them understand, the careless ones. I encourage you all to read.

    Carl Saga, Pale Blue Dot, 1994.

    God Bless you all for all your efforts.

  • Posted on by Georgene

    Today is the “eve,” of D-Day – that infamous frontal assault, on the Third Reich – which was THE turning point of WW II. I was eight years old, then, and my Dad impressed on me and my siblings how important it was “to save the world, from tyranny.” Today, at 83, I well know we are facing another daunting assault, on our world, as we know it. Who would have thought that we would be such poor stewards, of the world, that we now face another form of tyranny (i.e. the erosion of our Planet Earth) brought about by failing – abysmally – to stand up, for what is right and necessary. History IS repeating itself, albeit in a different way.
    Excellent piece, Jill. Well said!

  • Posted on by Alan Anderson

    Another great piece Jill. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. FYI – Seven South Dakotans from Citizens’ Climate Lobby are headed back to DC next week to Lobby our Members of Congress asking them to pass our Climate Bill – HR 763 The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. There will be 1500 of us from around the world (Mostly the US). We do this twice a year. Progress is being made but we are not to the point where they believe that the citizens of SD care enough about climate to even make it a priority. We are working on that. Thanks for your support. It means a lot. If you have any more time this week, call them all again. They do count the calls as an indicator. This is a good bill. If we can pass it and get a similar one introduced in the Senate, it would be a major step forward. … Tape and Glue!

  • Posted on by Dave Eastman

    Every time I see or hear talk of melting glaciers I wonder how man was able to melt a glacier that was 5,000 feet high above Eastern South Dakota 10,000 years ago.

  • Posted on by Bruce E Matthews

    Indeed. THank you, both for sharing this and all you are doing toward this end.

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing
    1 out of ...
    You have successfully subscribed!
    This email has been registered