22 April 2015

Earth Day

 I remember less and less about those days. There aren't a lot of photos. I had a Polaroid camera, can't remember the name but it was one of the first popular, instant picture models. The film was expensive so I didn't take many pictures.

What I remember from Earth Day 1970 is the pledge I took to never litter again. I held by that pledge for over 30 years and haven't littered more than twice since that day. And I remember feeling a great hopeful excitement about the future:  the idea that everybody everywhere in the World cared about the same thing just blew my 16-year-old mind.

The Earth was mostly an abstract concept. My family didn't spend much time outdoors. We didn't camp or hike or swim. We didn't have pets. Gardening was something my parents did for a few years before their marriage ended; we kids didn't participate in it and after the divorce my mother hired an old man to do lawn care every couple weeks.

I was finishing my sophomore year at New Albany High School. The highlight of that year was running away from home in January. I was only gone about a week and I hadn't gone far, just across the river to Louisville KY. My family played it down but it made a splash in my school/social life by diminishing my reputation as a goody-two-shoes, a reputation that had grown cumbersome and restrictive.

That Earth Day is still celebrated 45 years hence is a source of encouragement, sweetening my mostly disheartened expectations for the World. I am viewed as something of an outsider by some people but will apparently never achieve the mysterious, dangerous renegade status I once aspired to.

Earth Day still inspires and energizes me in a way I don't understand and can't explain. Anticipating the day was enough to stir me from sleep this morning and, so far, I'm enjoying a sense of wholeness and well-being today.  Wade's birthday is the 25th and, as usual, Earth Day stimulates reflections on the day of his birth....