A walk in the park sets off a mission to awaken humanity and save Earth, as Cromwell’s (If I Gave You God’s Phone Number, 2002) work weaves an argument for living in awareness of all life.
When her boyfriend announces a troubling decision that disrupts her world, Sarah turns to nature for comfort, only to discover that nature wants help in return. The rustically dressed woman who greets Sarah in the forest turns out to be Earth Mother, whose gentle, compassionate embrace melts Sarah’s pain and convinces her of the woman’s identity. Earth Mother has something to say to humanity (13 things, in fact) and invites Sarah to be the conduit. In the weekly conversations that follow, Earth Mother imparts observations, pleas and guidelines for living in greater harmony with her and with other people. Her messages cover familiar territory (respect the earth; plant trees) and some terrain that’s not typically associated with her—violence, conflict, competition, gratitude, etc. She’s not crazy about social media or the belittling of women, and she follows guidance for males with a pep talk for females. Earth Mother’s vision of the future is an innovative twist on Utopia, with renewable energy, biodegradable objects, telepathic communication and therapeutic criminal justice. The components might veer toward the simplistic—share food; sing; conserve “things that you’ve broken [Earth Mother’s] soil or skin to get”; leave her offerings of organically grown tobacco—but the cumulative effect isn’t trite. A self-styled “plant intuitive, sacred gardener and worm wrangler,” the author imbues her characters’ conversations with a convincing earnestness and ambition. Despite the instructional nature of the messages, Cromwell cloaks Earth Mother in lightheartedness and gives her an endearing predilection for corny jokes as well as messages of hope and love.
A humorous, good-natured blueprint for saving the planet.