Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day - Shmirth Day

Does anyone else loathe birthdays?

I love the idea of them of course (not the getting older bit so much as the me, me, me theme). No, I tend to feel the love of my family and friends and the depth of my good lot in life more on a random Tuesday when the girls are tucked in and we take a moment for real conversation and a good glass of wine. For me, along with nearly everyone I know over 21, the reality of birthdays tends to be a depressing rush of schedules and expectations that never quite line up.

Earth Day 2008 has shaped up in much the same way.

Elliot in Joe's Old Chair

Yesterday, I was definitely in the mood to celebrate our connection to mother earth. It was finally over 70 degrees! We were outside nearly all day, slathered in nontoxic sunscreen (Blue Lizard has been my favorite for three years now!) Maya and her imaginary friend Butrik bonded in the sandbox over mud-pie (atta girl Maya), while Elliot rolled around on a blanket eating grass and developing a strong tolerance for common allergens. Meanwhile I raked, dug in the garden, and scouted our yard for the best place to plant my 6 new raspberry bushes.

Maya (self styled!) at play.

I felt especially mother-earthy when I nursed Elliot in the shade of a tree in our backyard while Maya chased a worm around in the flowerbed.

Today, though, I’m just not feeling it. None of us are. Maya was only marginally interested in painting the planet earth picture I drew for her, refused to make the crafty “rain stick” out of a paper towel roll and rice, and spent our entire walk to the park in her stroller eating goldfish crackers rather than scouting out birds and bugs. Apparently you just can’t force Earth Day.

My less than sunny mood is probably caused by endless MPR stories featuring the interwoven crises of environmental degradation, gluttony (in the developed world), and poverty (everywhere else). It’s hard to feel good about rededicating ourselves to compost and low flow showerheads when food riots in Cairo and environmental refugees are the problems we’re trying to solve.

I’ll let you know if I discover a more effective way to bring the global battle for balanced survival to the level of the household. In the meantime, I’m going to track down an American Elm tree with Dutch elm immunity… I’ll just celebrate Arbor Day early; it’s less depressing.

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