Phase Two: The Earth Gave her Heart to the People by Erica Hansen (Senior)

Her sister Sun shined on her creations. The people were happy. They spent their days
singing and dancing. The Moon, her father, gazed down at his daughter and her creations.
Mother Earth, so kind and so loving. He worried for her sometimes. She gave everything to her
creations. Her daughter, the Sea, adored the new creations. She thought of them as her own
brothers and sisters. The Sea tended to them, giving life to their crops and providing them water
to drink, which let them have a piece of her with them all the time.

Earth’s mother, the Sky, was an ever present guardian. Even as the Moon, Sun, and Stars
came and went as they pleased, the Sky remained. She dutifully watched over her youngest
daughter. She dutifully watched over her grandchildren. Even though the Sea was the Earth’s
only child, the Sky’s only grandchild, the plants, animals, and humans were so dear to all of them
that they were considered family to the celestial beings. The Moon looked over them in darkness,
providing them with light when they were afraid. He was always gentle, always benevolent.
Earth took more after her father in this way. She cared so much and so deeply. She would never
harm anything or anyone. The Sun was more protective of her younger sister. If she felt Earth
had been wronged in any way, she would withdraw her warmth and life-giving light from the
creations. She would make them suffer. The Sky and Stars were also guardians of their beloved
Earth. The Sky would spew down angry waters and bolts of lightning to humble the Earth’s
creations. Occasionally a star would fall from the heavens to remind them that Earth’s older
sister, the twin of the Sun, was still watching over her. Even though she was preoccupied with
exploring the vast universe, the Stars were still dedicated to her younger sister.

The people loved the Sun, Moon, Sky, Stars, and Seas nearly as much as they loved the
Earth. They held great respect for those responsible for their creation and their livelihood. They
loved and honored the celestial beings who carefully watched over them. They cared for the
Earth, who they felt was their mother. They were grateful for the animals who might as well have
been their brothers and sisters. They both lived in harmony with the plants, giving to each other
and never taking more than they needed. Everyone was kind and gentle, just as Mother Earth had
taught them. No one feared the elements and no one feared each other, which allowed them all to
wander and explore the home Earth had given them.

Earth gave them many treasures. The most valuable being her heart. She had always been
a tender soul, and this proved it. She was enthralled with her creations. She admired everything
they did, everything they created. Her heart swelled with pride when she saw them honoring her
family. They built shrines and made offerings, showcasing all the skills they had put to good use.
They would bask in the Sun, person, plant, and animal alike. They would gaze up and admire the
Moon and Stars. They would revel in the brilliantly colored eternal glory of the Sky. They would
revere the Sea and her infinite depths. Most of all, they cherished their Mother Earth and the
heart she gave them.

Life for the people was simple. They lived by cycles of the Sun and Moon. They grew
food on the vast green world provided for them. They built boats to sail the Seas and learn more
about the one who loved them like an older sister. She would give them waves to carry them
across her vast expanse and Earth would give them wind to fill their sails. The people loved
exploring. They were so full of life and so focused on the wellbeing of those around them. An
unkind word never left their lips and an unkind thought was never formed in their minds. There
was no greed or tyranny. The people couldn’t possibly imagine a world where they were without
their freedom. Where they were without the love and appreciation of their communities. Where
they were without the protection of the Earth, Sea, Sun, Moon, Stars, and Sky.

The Earth looked down upon her beloved creations. And saw. She saw how peacefully
they lived. She saw their love for each other. She saw their innocence. They reminded her of her
daughter when she was young. Sometimes Mother Earth would cry out of pure joy for the
beautiful creations she held in her hands. Everything she saw was perfect, and yet, none of it was
perfect. Her sisters often reminded her to not lose herself to her creations. They knew she would
give up too much of herself to keep her beloved project happy. Her parents feared this as well,
but kept it to themselves, simply continuing to offer her protection and comfort.

Despite their fears about Earth, none of the celestial beings ever lost their adoration for
the creations. Every day, they would gaze down at them and learn more about the many plants,
animals, and humans inhabiting the green planet held in the Earth’s hands. Sometimes the Sky
would create clouds to protect them from the Sun when her heat got too intense. Sometimes the
Earth would blow great winds across the surface to chase away those clouds and allow her
people to admire her parents and sisters. She especially loved to give her creations a clear view
of her estranged sister, the Stars, whenever she decided to visit.

Life continued in this way for many years. All was peaceful. All were thriving. The
creations lived respectful and harmonious lives alongside the other creations and celestial beings.
There was no tension or greed, only adoration and kindness. The people spent their days singing
and dancing under the Sun, Moon, Stars, and Sky. The Earth continued to dote upon her
creations and the Sea continued to give them life.

But that was how it used to be. Before the people broke the Earth’s heart.