Friday, April 22, 2011

Celebrating Earth Day, or whatever

Thank the elements, or whatever, for my spirits are more chipper this week. Breathing is easier. Debilitating allergies have subsided and the outlook for myself, if not the planet, is perkier. Besides, my garden is popping with color.

For Christians today is Good Friday. For Jews it is Shabbat. For 500 million folks in 175 countries it is Earth Day, a celebration invented when I was already 40, so I don’t quite get it. Two different sources claim to have invented it one being Senator Gaylord Nelson a senator from Wisconsin who insisted it be called National Environmental Teach In Day (no one else did, though). The other is a group founded by John McConnell introduced at a UNESCO conference in 1969.

This group settled on the vernal equinox, the moment when night and day are of equal length. That’s today!

And how did I celebrate it? I’ve always been passionate about nature. Part of my life indoctrination by my dad, as well as lessons learned in the Camp Fire Girls and Girl Scouts. (My gospels.) Both organizations were decades ahead of the times, teaching ecology before the Sierra Club heard the name. The older I get the more environmentally conscious I get, although I don’t think it has anything to do with Earth Day. Maybe it’s related to my own immortality? Its getting so I can’t stand to take the life of any sentient creature. When I find spiders in my bathtub I carefully catch them in a clear class tumbler and move them to the rose garden.

On Wednesday I startled a very large garter snake taking a spring sun bath in the middle of the path as I was carrying out the dog poop. Instead of annoyance I found myself apologizing to the snake. Accordingly I spent part of this Earth Day morning relocating garden snails to the bank in the orchard. (Much juicier picking there, I told them.) One had crawled way up my clean living room window. I smiled as I dislodged him tenderly. I have yet to embrace the wood rats, but who knows where I will go next?

A few weeks ago in San Francisco I came across an exhibit by the Long Now Foundation of a model of a 10,000 year clock. The goal of the organization is to get folks to think about the environmental legacy we are leaving not for just our grandchildren but for our grandchildren’s grandchildren, and beyond that. It stirred me deeply.

Perhaps I should shun plastic and my now one year old gas burning vehicle and return to my teenage passion of back packing and primitive camping? Young bracken fern is almost as soft as toilet paper, after all.

On the other hand, I’m loving my new IMAC computer and if I’m adept enough you’ll see above a collage of my garden right now, thanks to modern technology. I’d dearly miss that. For now, guess I'll stay with the now.

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