Having traveled far, a visitor arrived at a place untouched by human hands. Encountering that place on earth for the first time, an imaginary dialog began, the essence of which follows.
Earth, hesitatingly: Yes? What is it?
Visitor: I’ve come a long way to be here. I find myself drawn to you. You’re beautiful…lonely, but beautiful.
Earth, defiantly independent: So what?
Visitor, quietly persistent: I like you; I like what I see.
Earth, taking a deep breath, holding out: That’s nice, and why should I care?
Visitor: As I said, you look lonely; lovely, but lonely. As for me, you have something I want more of in my life. Together I think we could make life much more interesting, perhaps a life long adventure. Want to be friends?
Earth, wondering silently: Here I am, letting this stranger approach me. Am I being hustled? If I go along with this, I’ll change, maybe in a way I won’t like. And I’ll give up being alone. Up until now loneliness has been my strength. I haven’t had to compromise. On the other hand, I suppose having a friend might be nice. But how do I know I won’t be abused the way so many of my relatives have been?
Earth, skeptically to the visitor: I’m not so sure I trust you. Show me who you are, what you’re made of.
Visitor, earnestly: What you see is what you get. No guarantees except that odds are you’ll be around long after me. But I’ll offer you this: friendship is based on mutual respect and you’ve got mine. It’s also based on shared values, which as you can see, we have plenty.
Earth, slowly taking its time: Hmm…I didn’t expect this, but the more I look, the more I like what I see. We seem to be a lot alike. Are you for real?
Visitor, confidently: Yes.
Earth, pausing for a very long time: O.k., let’s see if we can make it work. But, here’s the deal: As you said, I’ll be here long after you’ve gone. Treat me well and you’ll reap the rewards. Abuse me and pay the price. If you’re still willing, then let’s give it a try.
And so, a budding relationship began. Over time it became much more as it grew. Something built by one of us joined with the earth in a lasting relationship, creating more than what was there before. After all these years it’s nearly impossible to imagine them separate from one another. Both benefitted from it, but none as much as the one who chose to go the distance to get there, to live there, and to be close friends with what was already there for an eternity.