Thursday, April 22, 2010

To Our Good Old Planet

Earth Day. Well, why not? It's an amazingly hospitable place, all things considered. If it takes one dedicated day for us to toast our good old sphere—typhoons and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions notwithstanding—well, seize the day. Or at least give it an approving pat.

I'm not as green as I used to think I was. I tend to walk past Masspirg volunteers with their clipboards and their manipulative pitch, "Hi. Do you have a moment for the environment" (What? No time for your mother planet? What kind of ungrateful son-of-a-bitch are you?) They're on the front lines of Earth activism, I know. I'm back in the bivouac, writing about my relationship with nature, or going birding, and not even telling myself anymore that some essay of mine is going to improve the lot of this beautiful old fortune-favored, life-supporting, orbiter of ours. Which is in trouble. I believe that.

Aside from this post, my Earth Day moment was the ten minutes I spent lying in a hammock in my backyard this afternoon, looking up at the sky, watching cumulus clouds form and reform as they moved overhead through earth's warm, carboniferous, beautiful, blue atmosphere. I should write a poem to the earth, I thought, with rhymes like birth, dearth, girth, firth, mirth, Perth, and worth. Or I should go down to Meadowbrook, the little wetland squeezed between a cemetery and Mystic Lake, with my tall rubber boots and a bunch of garbage bags. I thought about how "Earth Day" is sort of redundant, because what is a day but one sunrise-to-sunrise revolution of the earth, turning on its tilted invisible axis. And I tried to think of all those tiny events going on as the shadows raced around the globe: babies being born, puffs of smoke from death-dealing weapons, ships moving in oceans, animals in motion, spring in motion, fall in motion, weather in motion...

In the end, I half-fell out of the hammock and went inside to finish unpacking, then came back outside and shot hoops with Matt in the driveway.

Tomorrow is also Earth Day.

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