Earth Day is Fifty! We could have all used a better splash! Maybe tighten up some pollution regulations, close down the last coal power plant or decide not to keep building that pipeline trenching through the landscape and maybe put up some solar panels instead. A girl can dream.
I lost myself instead reading one powerful online story after another, some uplifting, some hair-raising. Here are links to some of the most inspiring: to introduce the idea of Earth Day, one of my favorite writers, “Chorus at the Dawn of Earth Day” by Gary Paul Nabhan, as featured in Orion Magazine. Another one of their special Earth Day essays was an unexpected delight: I learned something new about Amy Tan: https://orionmagazine.org/cms/assets/uploads/2020/04/tanbanner.jpg
Emergence magazine, if you haven’t discovered it, offers real sustenance and substance, as well as stunning beauty in their posted essays and artwork: https://emergencemagazine.org/ And the Rachel Carson Council was full of stories and actions backed by research and information, as befits their name: https://rachelcarsoncouncil.org/ But don’t forget sheer joy to keep you putting one foot in front of another; listen to Birdnote for a reset when you most need it: https://www.birdnote.org/blog/2020/04/earth-day-2020-50-years Puffins!
But even the best stories were other people’s stories, other people’s experiences. I needed to go outside, or at least stand on my front porch and see for myself. I needed to breathe in lilac scented air and breathe out the deep gloom that had settled in my heart. Climate change catastrophe looms like a shadow around the coronavirus upheaval, but that day I had to just open my hands, palms up and try to let some of the pent up fury and sadness go, just for now. There was a steady Northwest-style rain, the kind that washes all the pollen out of the air and soaks down into the tree roots. We badly needed it in this dry spring.
I needed the lilacs, the most we’ve ever had on our bush, are just coming into their own now. And my eyes drank in the blue sweep at its peak in our front garden. It’s my prairie even if it’s not camas. Somewhere out near the Mima Mounds, there is a real glacial prairie ablaze with blue and yellow and pink and every soft and vibrant color even if we can’t visit it this year. The butterflies and birds have it as their domain. It is enough to know it is there. That the Earth will go on, in ways we cannot fathom just now, but that we hope will include us. We must resolve to deserve—and serve—this beauty. Every day is Earth Day, really.