By Edith Morgan
Sunday, May 12, was Mothers’ Day – and April 22 was the universal mother earth’s Day, with our own earth day cleanup on April 27.
Before the European settlers came to these shores, this continent was by and large populated by various groups whom we in our ignorance called “Indians”. Though there were many “tribes” or peoples, they mostly shared a philosophy that regarded the land upon which they lived as their mother, our sustainer and provider of food and shelter. All the creatures and plants lived here as part of a cycle, each contributing to the balance that enabled life to go on. Mother Earth was not “owned” by anyone, and working WITH nature was basic to the philosophy. It was not until European settlers came with their notions of property and overpowering nature, with the idea that all this bounty was put here for our exploitation and profit, that Mother Earth needed a day to remind us that she needs to be taken care of, and kept safe for us all, into the future.
Recently, we have increasingly begun to pay the price for our depredations. Yes, there have always been storms and various natural disasters, but they are coming more frequently and more powerfully than ever, and we are told to expect that they will increase steadily in strength and frequency. Sinkholes and earthquakes also appear more often and in unusual places, all testaments to the abuse being heaped on this small planet.
So it is a good thing, although merely a tiny beginning, that we look around our surroundings, and at least clean up the surface on which we live every day, and once it is pristine, vow to keep it picked up. Even if we did not toss the litter onto public places, picking it up will enable us to live and walk comfortably in our neighborhoods, parks, and other public places. If we show that we care about our environment, others passing through or living here will notice, and not wish to be the first to spoil it. It is always easier to mess up someplace that is already a mess, than it is to be the first….
Earth Day is just a beginning – for many of us, it is not just one day a year: we try to treat our little planet with care and respect every day, in many ways: we save on power, re-use, recycle, and give thought to the many ways we can live well without harming our environment. Our city recycles, and picks up weekly. Our streets are being cleared of winter debris, and the many parks throughout our city are being fixed, and in use by our families.
I get out into my garden and try to grow a few tomatoes, some chives, garlic, rosemary, swiss chard – with varying degrees of success. But mostly it is for the joy of watching something grow and develop. Now that the trees are leafing out, grass is getting ready to be mowed again, and the bulbs are awakening and pushing up leaves and blooms, once again all seems right with the world, so long as we take care of it…And it is a chance to see and speak with neighbors, also outside, to exchange bulbs, ideas, and gossip too perhaps…