Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
–Henry David Thoreau
A living planet is a much more complex metaphor for deity than just a bigger father with a bigger fist. If an omniscient, all-powerful Dad ignores your prayers, it’s taken personally. Hear only silence long enough, and you start wondering about his power. His fairness. His very existence. But if a world mother doesn’t reply, Her excuse is simple. She never claimed conceited omnipotence. She has countless others clinging to her apron strings, including myriad species unable to speak for themselves. To Her elder offspring She says — go raid the fridge. Go play outside. Go get a job. Or, better yet, lend me a hand. I have no time for idle whining.
Opie, you haven’t finished your milk. We can’t put it back in the cow, you know.
–Aunt Bea Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show