Happy Earth Day to our beautiful blue-green jewel whirling through space! I can understand easily why astronauts rhapsodize over you with affection and homesickness.
In thinking about Earth Day, I can be a tiny bit proud that as a sophomore in high school, I participated in that very first one in 1970 (yep, the years are piling up… For a history of the first Earth day, click this link). I chose to walk to school, a round trip of 7 miles of winding, very hilly road. At that time I lived in a semi-rural town that overlooked the Carquinez Straits in the San Francisco bay area.
At dawn, as I began my walk, the spring cacophony of birds was everywhere. I could see the occasional tugboat pass by in the straits. The narrow winding road was very quiet that early. As the sun rose, it was warm and comforting after the pre-dawn chill. I had a lot of time to think, and to see the Earth and its beauty with every step. The Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun” kept running through my mind. It was a day that simply underscoredwhy I was walking. I wished even then that my life could be as simple and grounded as the feeling I had as my feet pounded the asphalt.
Owing to a string of significant health issues in my life, I am no longer able to walk or bicycle to work. But I find small ways to do what I can. I recycle every scrap of paper and plastic, I finally have a fuel-efficient car (yay!), I try to make smart choices in purchases, use cloth bags for shopping, avoid harmful chemicals for cleaning and laundry, try to eat locally and organically, buy organic cotton when it’s on sale, etc. When I have a spare $20, I donate it to a nature conservation or wildlife organization.
As you can see, these are not large accomplishments and may not make any changes in the greater global scenario. But somehow, I think that making even small efforts creates a way of looking at life with more awareness and respect. That has to be a good thing.
Painting wildlife and the beautiful things of this earth has come naturally to me because I want to express my love and appreciation for all the animals and flowers that roam and grow on this planet.
Sometimes when we think we can’t do anything, we still do have choices. Perhaps the greatest and best choice is to cherish and love this amazing, sparkling, breathtaking place we call our home in the Milky Way, and to care for it as if it were our most dearly-loved family member. Everything else just has to follow naturally…