Wednesday, April 22, 2009

People Day

Dawn breaks out into bright sunshine after a single cloudburst and all the woodland birds start singing at once. Quite a racket. The morning perfume: a subtle scent of wet soil mingled with wafts of frying bacon. In the house around the corner they're home-schooling their seven-year old, it seems they feed him bacon every morning. I hardly ever see the pale boy outdoors.

Today is Earth Day. I think to myself, I'm not worried about the future of the Earth. I'm worried about the future of humankind. Cranky Ed Abbey knew the deal -- rock and sand will be here long after we've exited the show. Roaches and rats'll finally have some peace.

Quist used to say, "We want our progress and our paradise too, poot. We can't live in the moment, so we're always futzin around, rewritin the past, makin plans for the future. We call it history. Then there's natural history. Whirlin gases, plate tectonics, geological time, primal ooze, the whole nine yards. One day the upright ape arrives on the scene and screws it all up? That's givin ourselves a lotta credit, dontcha think?"

I know that every year I see the Army Corps of Engineers re-sand a piece of the Jersey shore and every year the beaches move. Effin Sisyphus had nothin on these guys. The beach is gonna be what it wants to be -- the Earth doesn't care one way or the other. People care. And people need each other cause life on this planet is just as fragile as it's always been. Maybe Earth Day should be People Day.

Some guy on the radio says, "Expect more showers today." It is April, after all. A good day to give thanks for those who have loved this world so well they gave it voice -- Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Annie Dillard, John Muir, Rachel Carson, Scott Russell Sanders, Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Roderick Nash, William Cronon, Terry Tempest Williams, Edward Abbey, Barry Lopez, Peter Matthiessen, William Warner, Bill McKibben. Where would we be without these word-lovers, these earth-lovers? If you haven't read them, read them. If you have, pass their work along, that others too may come to care.

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