“Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs, —
To the silent wilderness,
Where the soul need not repress its music.” —Percy Bysshe Shelley
As a Nine Cent Girl reader you are uniquely aware of the lovely places where I roam and know many are right out my front door. Having the very best of air, water, earth, with a fire in our hearth keep us balanced on this one small planet. This week as Spring is slowly emerging from her underworld and winter garb, there is the reminder that Persephone is rising with her mantle of yellow flowers and cape of greens. As all New Englanders, I anxiously await the ease this next season will bring and am always reminded how lucky I am to live here, in absolute beauty: under grey clouds or vast blue, each day is a gift.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall.
From how and where you shop, to your attention to reuse, repurpose, and the recycling of your trash to diligently composting your food waste, from how you use or abuse natural resources as in your own consideration of water, we all make choices that have a direct impact on the world we inhabit. (Total disclosure: my dear brother can’t watch me wash dishes; I am such an offender of water waste! Working on this for sure…) Your daily impact on the planet might not be as apparent if one lives in a world built high upon cement and steel and glass, but glance upward further and set your eyes on the one sky: remember there is only one atmosphere we must share.
Here in Vermont there’s been a steady parade of out-of-staters driving our dirt roads with more frequency since the pandemic. Apparently, everyone needs to get into a forest somewhere. To breath again. To know the slow steady love of a tree. To even reach out and hug one or two. As more people leave their urban world behind, there is much to learn about how to share these still sacred spaces: how to leave them as we find them.
“The Earth is what we all have in common.” —Wendell Berry
As I head out on my daily wanderings, I am always reminded of the farmers who keep land open for us. Thanks to their labor we have expansive views, fields to traipse along, and a visual reminder of what it takes to feed the 7.9 billion people and countless animals who all share this planet.
What can we each do today to be better caretakers? Create a small garden, either on your windowsill or backyard, perhaps? If you have enough sunlight start your seedlings indoors, if not, check out your local nursery, who are quite busy growing everything. It will not be too much longer when we can get peas and beans into the thawing ground here, but I will be just as happy to buy tomato and pepper plants already started come mid-May. In my community, you can bring your extra home-grown washed and cleaned produce to the local food share. Perhaps we can all consider growing an extra row of lettuce or container tomatoes and share our harvest? Small acts for our small world will help to bring about big change.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead
I am counting on President Biden for his stewardship. Today he “declared America “has resolved to take action” on climate change and the White House said it would substantially increase the money it offers to developing countries to address the issue. “The signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable and the cost of inaction keeps mounting,” Mr. Biden said” (The New York Times). Of course there is not a moment to lose in this race to save our planet and “take decisive action to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees above preindustrial levels” (NYT). We need to hold our politicians, our corporate leaders, our industries, our urban and rural planners, and our own small communities accountable in these climate change initiatives if we have any hope of leaving our children a livable planet. We must, right?
“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.” —John Ruskin
The sound of water is a great healer which keeps me circling back over and over, to see the light flash along the current, to hear the splash, to feel the coolness in the air. What a luxury I have to hear such joy! Do not underestimate the benefits of the nature world on your mental state either. Clear your mind as you listen to this rushing river.
According to today’s @nytimes Instagram post, “The science on climate change is settled, but the future is not. Five things humans can change:
- Switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy
- Use more sustainable agriculture practices
- Protect forests and biodiversity
- Drive electric cars
- Fly less
Today of all days, this Earth Day 2021, can you make one shift in your care of this shared space? Perhaps that act will be joined by many to become one lasting universal prayer in action.
As I walk with Beauty
As I walk, as I walk,
The universe is walking with me,
In beauty it walks before me,
In beauty it walks behind me,
In beauty it walks below me,
In beauty it walks above me,
Beauty is on every side.
—Traditional Navajo Prayer